Assessing Trauma Care Capabilities of the Health Centers in Northern Ghana

World J Surg. 2015 Oct;39(10):2422-7. doi: 10.1007/s00268-015-3124-3.


Introduction: Traffic-related injury is a major and increasing cause of global mortality, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, trauma systems, personnel, resources, and infrastructure are frequently insufficient to meet the needs of the population in this at-risk population in LMICs. In addition, these resources are not uniformly distributed, coordinated, nor well described within most countries. Trauma care resources have not previously been characterized in the Northern Region of Ghana.

Methods: We performed uniform site evaluations and interviews at 92 hospitals in Northern Ghana. Trauma systems, material resources, and human resources were quantified. Equipment was characterized as available in the Emergency Department (ED), in the hospital only, or unavailable. Hospitals were categorized as primary, district, or referral.

Results: Forty-two primary hospitals, 48 district hospitals, 3 regional hospitals, and 1 teaching hospital were surveyed. Over 95 % of hospitals reported having no training or systems for the care of injured patients. Substantial clinical equipment deficits were found at most primary hospitals. In over 90 % of these hospitals, the majority of circulation and monitoring, airway and breathing, and diagnostic imagining resources were not available. Equipment was also frequently unavailable at district and regional hospitals. When available, these resources were infrequently present in the ED.

Conclusions: Although resources may be unavoidably constrained, there are substantial opportunities to improve the systematic management of trauma care and improve the education of the medical providers regarding care of injured patients in the region studied.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Developing Countries
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Ghana
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Resources / supply & distribution
  • Humans
  • Poverty
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*