Objectives: To document unintentional injuries in a rural community over a 1-year period as a basis for prioritizing preventive activities.
Study design: Quarterly home visits over 1 year to elicit experience of injury among household members in the preceding 3 months.
Methods: In total, 24,776 people living in rural communities in the Bavi District, Northern Vietnam, were surveyed in home visits during 2000. In the home visits, injuries that needed care or disrupted normal activities were recorded, together with their circumstances.
Results: Overall, 2079 new non-fatal injuries were recorded over 23,338 person-years, a rate of 89/1000 person-years-at-risk. Males had a significantly higher injury rate than females for all age groups except for those aged 35-59 years and the elderly (P<0.05). The elderly were at highest risk of injury (P<0.05), particularly females. Home injuries occurred at the highest overall rate, particularly among the elderly. Road traffic injuries were most common among children. Most injuries involved contact with another object. Less than one-quarter of injury victims sought care at a health facility.
Conclusions: Community-based household surveys revealed the hidden part of the injury iceberg, as well as showing high incidence rates, indicating that injury is an important public health problem which should be a priority for intervention in rural Vietnam, and probably elsewhere. This comprehensive study is intended to contribute evidence and methods to the Ministry of Health's national programme for injury prevention, and to a wider audience.