Unintentional childhood injuries in sub-Saharan Africa: an overview of risk and protective factors

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2009;20(4 Suppl):51-67. doi: 10.1353/hpu.0.0226.


The rate of unintentional injuries for children in sub-Saharan Africa has reached 53.1 per 100,000, the highest for regions across all income levels. This paper reviews the relevant literature on the epidemiology of unintentional childhood injuries in the region, with an emphasis on the risk factors associated with it. Several demographic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors contributing to injuries in children have been documented for the main causes of injury. Despite the high burden, child injury prevention and control programs and policies are limited or non-existent in many countries in the region. Accurate data regarding these injuries across and within countries is incomplete. Population-based estimates and investigations into context-specific risk factors, safety attitudes, and behaviours are needed to inform the development of effective interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Accidents / classification
  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Public Policy
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control