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Open Access Short Report

Injury-related mortality among adolescents: findings from a teaching hospital's post mortem data

Sally-Ann Ohene1*, Yao Tettey2 and Robert Kumoji2

Author Affiliations

1 World Health Organization Country Office in Ghana, Accra, Ghana

2 Department of Pathology, University of Ghana Medical School, Korle Bu, Accra, Ghana

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:124  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-124

Published: 5 May 2010

Abstract

Background

Injuries are noted to be an important cause of death among adolescents. There is however limited data on the injury related deaths among adolescents in Ghana.

Findings

Using data from post-mortem records derived from the Department of Pathology of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Accra Ghana from 2001 to 2003, the causes of injury related deaths among adolescents 10 to 19 years were analyzed by gender and age groups 10 to 14 and 15 to 19 years. There were 151 injury-related deaths constituting 17% of the autopsies performed among adolescents in the study period. The male-to-female ratio was 2.1:1. Drowning was the most common cause of death (37%) in the study population. This was followed by road traffic accidents (RTA) (33%). Over 70% of the RTA victims were pedestrians knocked downed by a vehicle. Deaths from electrocution, poisoning, burns, stab/gunshot, hanging and other miscellaneous causes (example blast injury, traumatic injury from falling debris, fall from height) made up the remaining 30% of the injury related mortality. Among males and in both age categories, drowning was the leading cause of death. In females, the highest mortality was from road traffic accidents accounting for almost half (49%) of the deaths; significantly more than that occurring in males (25%, p = .004).

Conclusions

Findings from Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital post-mortem data on adolescents show that drowning and road traffic accidents are the leading causes of injury-related mortality. Appropriate injury reducing interventions are needed to facilitate a decrease in these preventable deaths.