Analysis of traumatic injuries presenting to a referral hospital emergency department in Moshi, Tanzania

Erica R Casey, Florida Muro, Nathan M Thielman, Elifuraha Maya, Eric W Ossmann, Michael B Hocker, Charles J Gerardo
Publication year: 

Background: Injuries represent a significant and growing public health concern in the developing world, yet their impact on patients and the emergency health-care system in the countries of East Africa has received limited attention. This study evaluates the magnitude and scope of injury related disorders in the population presenting to a referral hospital emergency department in northern Tanzania.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients presenting to the emergency department at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre was performed. A standardized data collection form was used for data abstraction from the emergency department logbook and the complete medical record for all injured patients. Patient demographics, mechanism of injury, location, type and outcomes were recorded.

Results: Ten thousand six hundred twenty-two patients presented to the emergency department for evaluation and treatment during the 7-month study period. One thousand two hundred twenty-four patients (11.5%) had injuries. Males and individuals aged 15 to 44 years were most frequently injured, representing 73.4% and 57.8%, respectively. Road traffic injuries were the most common mechanism of injury, representing 43.9% of injuries. Head injuries (36.5%) and extremity injuries (59.5%) were the most common location of injury. The majority of injured patients, 59.3%, were admitted from the emergency department to the hospital wards, and 5.6%, required admission to an intensive care unit. Death occurred in 5.4% of injured patients.

Conclusions: These data give a detailed and more robust picture of the patient demographics, mechanisms of injury, types of injury and patient outcomes from similar resource-limited settings.