Research

Piloting a trauma surveillance tool for primary healthcare emergency centres

I Govender, R Matzopoulos, P Makanga, J Corrigall

Abstract


Objective. We aimed to pilot a trauma surveillance tool for use in a primary healthcare emergency centre to provide a risk profile of injury patterns in Elsies River, Cape Town.
Methods. Healthcare workers completed a one-page questionnaire capturing demographic and injury data from trauma patients presenting to the emergency unit of the Elsies River Community Health Centre over a period of 10 days.
Results. Trauma cases comprised about one-fifth of the total headcount during the study period. Most injuries took place before midnight. Approximately 47% of the trauma patients were suspected of being under the influence of alcohol with 87% of these cases caused by interpersonal violence; 28% were males between the ages of 19 and 35 years old, suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and presenting with injuries due to violence.
Conclusion. Injury surveillance at primary healthcare emergency centres provides an additional perspective on the injury burden compared with population-level mortality statistics, but the quality of data collection is limited by resource constraints. We recommend that the current trauma register be revised to separate trauma and medical headcounts and enable better resource planning at a facility and subdistrict level. Information gathered must be linked to health and safety interventions aimed at reducing the trauma burden within communities.

Authors' affiliations

I Govender, Provincial Government Western Cape and School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town

R Matzopoulos, Medical Research Council, Parow, and School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town

P Makanga, African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town

J Corrigall, Provincial Government Western Cape and School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town

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Keywords

Trauma; Surveillance; Primary Health Care; Community Health Centre

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(5):303-306.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-09-17
Date published: 2012-03-21

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