Admissions for injury at a rural hospital in Ghana: implications for prevention in the developing world

Am J Public Health. 1995 Jul;85(7):927-31. doi: 10.2105/ajph.85.7.927.


Objectives: Strategies for injury prevention have been extensively studied in developed nations but not in the developing world. This study sought to determine which mechanisms of injury were common in a rural developing area and which were important contributors to mortality and disability.

Methods: All 614 patients admitted for injuries to a rural African hospital between 1987 and 1991 were analyzed retrospectively for mechanism of injury and outcome, as assessed by mortality and long-term functional status.

Results: The leading mechanisms of injury were transport related (29%) and burns (16%). Burns accounted for 61% of injuries in children under 5 years. Mortality was 7.3% in the series, with 24% of deaths owing to transport injuries. Disability developed in 103 (22%) of the 462 survivors available for assessment, with most disability resulting from transport injuries (26% of all disabilities), burns (13%), and agricultural injuries (14%).

Conclusions: Among injured patients who presented for treatment in this rural developing area, the largest burden of mortality and disability was from burns and transport-related injuries. Population-based studies are needed to substantiate whether these should be priorities for injury prevention efforts.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Ghana / epidemiology
  • Hospitals, Rural / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology