Epidemiology and cost of pediatric injury in Yaoundé, Cameroon: a prospective study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery








Cameroon; Pediatric injury; Pediatric surgery; Trauma


© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Purpose: Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death among children aged 10–19 years and over 95% of injury deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As patterns of injury in the pediatric population may differ from those in adults, risks specific to children in LMICs need to be identified for effective injury prevention and treatment. This study explores patterns of pediatric injury epidemiology and cost in Yaoundé, Cameroon to inform injury prevention and resource allocation. Methods: Pediatric (age < 20 years) trauma patient data were collected at the emergency department (ED) of Central Hospital of Yaoundé (CHY) from April through October 2009. Univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analyses were used to explore injury patterns and relationships between variables. Regression analyses were conducted to identify predictors of receiving surgical care. Results: Children comprised 19% (544) of trauma cases. About 54% suffered road traffic injuries (RTIs), which mostly affected the limbs and pelvis (37.3%). Half the RTI victims were pedestrians. Transportation to CHY was primarily by taxi or bus (69.4%) and a preponderance (71.1%) of the severely and profoundly injured patients used this method of transport. Major or minor surgical intervention was necessary for 17.9% and 20.8% of patients, respectively. Patients with an estimated injury severity score ≥ 9 (33.2%) were more likely to need surgery (p < 0.01). The median ED cost of pediatric trauma care was USD12.71 [IQR 12.71, 23.30]. Conclusions: Injury is an important child health problem that requires adequate attention and funding. Policies, surgical capacity building, and health systems strengthening efforts are necessary to address the high burden of pediatric injuries in Cameroon. Pediatric injury prevention efforts in Cameroon should target pedestrian RTIs, falls, and burns and consider school-based interventions.