The Frequency and Burden of Severe Injury in Rural and Urban Communities of the Bolgatanga Municipality, Upper East Region, Ghana: An Exploratory Study

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INTRODUCTION: The problem of injury is quite widespread and can affect anyone severely and yet has not received much public health attention. In Ghana, this is partly so because information available on injuries which makes the size of the injury problem visible to policy-makers is not adequately available to inform the deserved public health action. Information available excludes a good number of injuries in the communities as well as their socio-economic impact on victims. This makes the injury burden difficult to appreciate. OBJECTIVES: To describe the frequency and burden of severe injury in urban and rural communities of the Bolgatanga municipality, Upper East Region, Ghana. METHODS: Community health workers interviewed respondents in 200 households in some urban and rural communities selected by two-stage random sampling to determine those who were involved in severe injury in a one year reference period (November 2007- October 2008), using a questionnaire/ interview guide. RESULTS: In the rural setting, 100 households, with 826 persons were surveyed whilst 100 households and 876 persons were surveyed in the urban settings. 63 and 48 injured persons were found in rural and urban communities respectively. The total incidence rate of fatal, disabling, and recovered injuries was 65.56 per 1,000 persons per year with a case fatality rate of 2.7. Leading causes of injuries were road traffic accidents in general, largely involving motor-bikes related injuries and deaths as well as occupational injuries in rural settings especially CONCLUSION: Based on the burden of injury and deaths as demonstrated by this survey, prevention measures in both urban and rural communities in the Bolgatanga municipality should make RTAs and occupational injuries top priorities.
Dissertation Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF PUBLIC HEALTH; Health Services Planning and Management, 2008.