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Open Access Research article

A profile of Injury in Fiji: findings from a population-based injury surveillance system (TRIP-10)

Iris Wainiqolo1*, Berlin Kafoa1, Bridget Kool2, Josephine Herman2, Eddie McCaig1 and Shanthi Ameratunga2

Author Affiliations

1 College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Fiji National University, Suva, Fiji

2 Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population health, University of Auckland, Private Bag, Auckland, 92019, New Zealand

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:1074  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1074

Published: 12 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Over 90% of injury deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries. However, the epidemiological profile of injuries in Pacific Islands has received little attention. We used a population-based-trauma registry to investigate the characteristics of all injuries in Viti Levu, Fiji.

Method

The Fiji Injury Surveillance in Hospitals (FISH) database prospectively collected data on all injury-related deaths and primary admissions to hospital (≥12 hours stay) in Viti Levu during 12 months commencing October 2005.

Results

The 2167 injury-related deaths and hospitalisations corresponded to an annual incidence rate of 333 per 100,000, with males accounting for twice as many cases as females. Almost 80% of injuries involved people aged less than 45 years, and 74% were deemed unintentional. There were 244 fatalities (71% died before admission) and 1994 hospitalisations corresponding to crude annual rates of 37.5 per 100,000 and 306 per 100,000 respectively. The leading cause of fatal injury was road traffic injury (29%) and the equivalent for injury admissions was falls (30%). The commonest type of injury resulting in death and admission to hospital was asphyxia and fractures respectively. Alcohol use was documented as a contributing factor in 13% of deaths and 12% of admissions. In general, indigenous Fijians had higher rates of injury admission, especially for interpersonal violence, while those of Indian ethnicity had higher rates of fatality, especially from suicide.

Conclusions

Injury is an important public health problem that disproportionately affects young males in Fiji, with a high proportion of deaths prior to hospital presentation. This study highlights key areas requiring priority attention to reduce the burden of potentially life-threatening injuries in Fiji.

Keywords:
Injuries; Epidemiology; Injury surveillance; Fiji