Incidence and characteristics of injuries in Eldoret, Kenya

East Afr Med J. 1995 Nov;72(11):706-10.


Injuries are a major cause of mortality, morbidity and disability. They have been recognized worldwide as a serious public health problem. The epidemiology of injuries in Kenya is however poorly documented and specific programmes for their surveillance and prevention have not been established. This study aimed at examining the incidence and causes of trauma, their relationships with demographic characteristics as well as hospital utilization. It was a prospective hospital based survey over a three month period in which trauma victims presenting to hospitals located within Eldoret town were enrolled. A total of 1304 casualties were registered of whom 71% were males and 29% females. The most vulnerable groups were males and young adults aged between 20 and 30 years. Exposure during night-time and weekends in addition to alcohol intoxication all had a significant influence on the incidence. Assaults were the leading cause of injuries being responsible for 40%. Road traffic accidents (RTAs) accounted for 18%, falls 17%, burns 3% and dog bites 3%. 16.5% of the victims aged above 15 years, who were examined within 12 hours of injury had taken alcohol. 25% of the assault victims were alcohol related while this was 10% amongst road traffic casualties. Passengers in public transport vehicles were most involved in RTAs. They comprised 56% whereas bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers accounted for 15%, 14%, 8% respectively. 80% of the casualties were treated as outpatients while 20% were admitted. The mean length of stay was seven days. Twelve patients died. The use of operating theatres was required in only eleven cases, while X-rays were indicated in nearly one third of the victims. The implications of these findings, with regard to the formulation of injury prevention strategies are discussed.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Time Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology