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Open Access Original Research

Non-fatal injuries among pediatric patients seeking care in an urban Ghanaian emergency department

Lauren K Whiteside1*, Rockefeller Oteng12, Patrick Carter1, John Amuasi23, Ekua Abban4, Sarah Rominski5, Michelle Nypaver6 and Rebecca M Cunningham1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan, UM Injury Center 24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive Suite H3200, Ann Arbor, MI, 48105, United States of America

2 Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), P.O. Box KS 1934, Kumasi, Ghana

3 Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, 420 Delaware Street S.E, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, United States of America

4 School of Medicine University of Michigan, 1301 Catherine Street, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, United States of America

5 Global REACH, University of Michigan, 1301 Catherine Street, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, United States of America

6 Department of Emergency Medicine/Children’s Emergency Services, University of Michigan, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-5305, United States of America

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International Journal of Emergency Medicine 2012, 5:36  doi:10.1186/1865-1380-5-36

Published: 26 September 2012

Abstract

Background

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), injuries represent the largest cause of death among people ages 140 –and contribute to a large burden of disease worldwide. The aims of this study were to characterize the prevalence and relative mechanism of injury among children seeking emergency care and describe the demographics at time of presentation among these children to inform further research in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods

A prospective cross-sectional survey of pediatric patients (n = 176) was conducted between 13 July 2009 and 30 July 2009 in the Accident and Emergency Center at Komfo Anoche Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Ghana. Participants were asked questions regarding demographics, insurance status, overall health, and chief complaint.

Results

Of the 176 patients surveyed, 66% (n = 116) presented for injuries. The mean age was 4.7 years (range 1.5 months to 17 years), and 68% (n = 120) were male. Of those presenting with injury, 43% (n = 50) had road traffic injuries (RTI). Of the RTIs, 58% (n = 29) were due to being an occupant in a car crash, 26% (n = 13) were pedestrian injuries, and 14% (n = 7) were from motorcycles. There was no significant difference in demographics, health status or indicators of socioeconomic status between injured and non-injured patients.

Conclusions

Among pediatric patients presenting for acute care at KATH during the study time frame, the majority (n = 116, 66%) presented for injuries. To date, there are no studies that characterize pediatric patients that present for acute care in Ghana. Identifying injury patterns and collecting epidemiologic data are important to guide future research and educational initiatives for Emergency Medicine.