Neurotrauma Surveillance in National Registries of Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Scoping Review and Comparative Analysis of Data Dictionaries

Int J Health Policy Manag. 2022 Dec 6;11(11):2373-2380. doi: 10.34172/ijhpm.2021.167. Epub 2021 Dec 6.


Background: Injury is a major global health problem, causing >5 800 000 deaths annually and widespread disability largely attributable to neurotrauma. 89% of trauma deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), however data on neurotrauma epidemiology in LMICs is lacking. In order to support neurotrauma surveillance efforts, we present a review and analysis of data dictionaries from national registries in LMICs.

Methods: We performed a scoping review to identify existing national trauma registries for all LMICs. Inclusion/ exclusion criteria included articles published since 1991 describing national registry neurotrauma data capture methods in LMICs. Data sources included PubMed and Google Scholar using the terms "trauma/neurotrauma registry" and country name. Resulting registries were analyzed for neurotrauma-specific data dictionaries. These findings were augmented by data from direct contact of neurotrauma organizations, health ministries, and key informants from a convenience sample. These data were then compared to the World Health Organization (WHO) minimum dataset for injury (MDI) from the international registry for trauma and emergency care (IRTEC).

Results: We identified 15 LMICs with 16 total national trauma registries tracking neurotrauma-specific data elements. Among these, Cameroon had the highest concordance with the MDI, followed by Colombia, Iran, Myanmar and Thailand. The MDI elements least often found in the data dictionaries included helmet use, and alcohol level. Data dictionaries differed significantly among LMICs. Common elements included Glasgow Coma Score, mechanism of injury, anatomical site of injury and injury severity scores. Limitations included low response rate in direct contact methods.

Conclusion: Significant heterogeneity was observed between the neurotrauma data dictionaries, as well as a spectrum of concordance or discordance with the MDI. Findings offer a contextually relevant menu of possible neurotrauma data elements that LMICs can consider tracking nationally to enhance neurotrauma surveillance and care systems. Standardization of nationwide neurotrauma data collection can facilitate international comparisons and bidirectional learning among healthcare governments.

Keywords: Global Neurosurgery; Health Systems; Neurotrauma; Surveillance; Trauma Registry; Traumatic Brain Injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Developing Countries*
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Registries