Health> Vol.5 No.12, December 2013

High rate of injuries among students in Southern Nigeria: An urgent call to action

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ABSTRACT

Addressing injury and its associated effects is a multi-dimensional and ongoing challenge. This includes recognizing that injury is a significant public health problem capable of affecting the health and wellbeing of all populations over short and longer terms, albeit in varied ways and intensities. That recognition has drawn attention to the need to take actions to avert its rate of occurrence particularly in developed nations. While in low-income countries, despite the growing burden of injury, there are few school-based studies from which to develop prevention initiatives. Thus this study describes the cause, nature and types and prevalence of injuries in a cross sectional population of students in Southern Nigeria, in order to provide data for use in developing priorities for injury prevention efforts. An interviewer-administered school-based survey of students attending schools in Southern Nigeria was conducted in 2013. The study sample involved 585 students (60.9% male, 39.2% female and overall mean age of 15 years). We inquired about participants self-reported injuries in the past one year (all injury inclusive). When reported, injuries were further assessed according to cause, intent, nature, type, place, and number of days absent from school due to injury. Overall, there were 549 self-reported injuries

in the past one year (93.8%) among the respondents (95.5% for males and 90.8% for females, p = 0.6696). Sex wise, prevalence of injury differ by age, school setting and parents’ occupation (p < 0.05). Falls 293 (53.4%) was the leading cause of injury. Falls and animal bites were significantly higher in males compared to females [206 (60.4%) vs 87 (41.8%) p = 0.002, and 10 (2.9%) vs 0 (0.0) p = 0.016] respectively. Traffic injuries and falls decrease progressively with age. Homes and schools were settings injuries occurred mostly. Over 68% of the reported injuries were unintentional. On the average, 2 days of normal school activity were lost per injured persons because of an injury. Given the high prevalence of injury reported in this study, injury like tropical diseases, should be considered a significant public health problem in Nigeria. We expect that this school-based information will be useful in establishing rational priorities for prevention, and the targeting of interventions toward responsible authorities. Also, there is a high need for safety education aiming to educate this young population on how to prevent injury.

 

Cite this paper

Nmor, J. , Nwaka, K. , Goto, K. , Toyosawa, J. and Fujita, D. (2013) High rate of injuries among students in Southern Nigeria: An urgent call to action. Health, 5, 1965-1975. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.512266.

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