Child injuries in Ethiopia: A review of the current situation with projections

PLoS One. 2018 Mar 27;13(3):e0194692. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194692. eCollection 2018.


Background: Heavy burden of child injuries and lack of policy response in Ethiopia call for an improved understanding of the situation and development of action plans from multiple governmental agencies and stakeholders.

Methods: A consortium of international and Ethiopian researchers and stakeholders used extensive literature review and mixed analytical methods to estimate and project the burden of fatal and non-fatal child unintentional injuries in Ethiopia from 2015 to 2030. Estimates were derived for children aged 0-14 years. Data sources include a longitudinal study conducted by the Central Statistics Agency of Ethiopia and the World Bank as well as model-based estimates from World Health Organization 2017 and Global Burden of Disease 2016 project.

Results: Injuries caused about 25 thousand deaths among 0-14-year olds in Ethiopia in 2015. The leading cause of fatal child unintentional injuries in Ethiopia was road-traffic injuries, followed by fire, heat and hot substances and drowning. The death rate due to injuries among 0-14 years olds was about 50 percent higher in males than females. Rural children were exposed to a greater risk of injury than their urban peers. The longitudinal survey suggests that the incidence rate of child injuries increased during the period 2011-2014. The annual mortality caused by injuries is projected to increase from 10,697 in 2015 to 11,279 in 2020 and 11,989 in 2030 among children under 5 years, an increase of 12 percentage points in 15 years. The number of deaths among 0-14-year olds will be 26,463, 27,807, and 30,364 respectively in 2015, 2020, and 2030.

Conclusions: As the first multisectoral collaboration on child injuries in Ethiopia, this study identified gaps in understanding of the burden of child injuries in Ethiopia. In consultation with Ethiopian government and other stakeholders, we propose starting an injury surveillance system at health clinics and hospitals and building an intervention package based on existing platforms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death
  • Cost of Illness
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / pathology*

Grants and funding

The study was funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The sponsor of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data inter preparation, or writing of the report.