Objective: To determine the pattern and burden of injuries, their causes and action taken in a rural and urban community in Kenya.
Design: Household interview survey and focus group discussions.
Setting: Four rural villages and five urban clusters in Kiambu District, Kenya.
Subjects: A total of 1,980 members of 200 rural and 230 urban households.
Results: The number of reported injuries was 495, corresponding to 300,000 injuries per 100,000 people per year. Most common were cut or piercing (38.4%), followed by fall (16.2%), burn or scald (14.3%), animal bite or kick (10.1%), hit by moving object (5.9%) and road traffic accident (3.6%). Poisoning, sub-mersion/drowning and explosion were uncommon, each below three per cent. Of all reported injuries, 149 (30.1%) sought care from traditional healers, 91 (18.4%) were subject to self-care, 76 (15.4%) obtained service from drug shops, 22 (4.4%) were brought to a health facility for attention and 17 (3.4%) took no action at all. Additional information was obtained through focus group discussions with students, teachers and members of women groups. These generated detailed information about cases of sexual assault within and outside households which had not been captured during the previous household interviews.
Conclusion: Injuries are very common but most of them are mild, prompting only home care or no action at all. Only one out of 25 injuries were brought to a health facility for attention. Some types of injury, such as domestic violence and sexual assault, are more likely to be captured through focus group discussions than during household interviews. A combination of methods is likely to best reflect the pattern of injury at community level.