Patterns of musculoskeletal injuries presenting at selected public general hospitals in the Districts of Central Uganda.
Kyengera, Kisitu Dan
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Musculoskeletal injuries are among the commonest conditions seen in the general/ district hospitals which are the first referral health facilities in Uganda. These conditions require urgent care to reduce morbidity and mortality. However due to the lack of a national trauma register at the ministry of health, the type of musculoskeletal injuries presenting to these health facilities plus services or care given to them have remained unknown. Study Objective. The aim of this study was to describe the patterns of musculoskeletal injuries which present to the public general hospitals in the districts of central Uganda. Methods: This was an explorative, descriptive cross-sectional study conducted in 3 public general hospitals (Mityana, Entebbe and Nakaseke) over a period of four months (Oct 2013 to Jan 2013). Data was collected using pre-tested questionnaires by taking the appropriate history and examination. The injuries were confirmed on X-rays of two views (Antero-Posterior and lateral). The data was analyzed using STATA version 12. Results: A total of 367 patients with musculoskeletal injuries were seen, of which majority were males with a male to females ratio of 2.4:1. The mean age was 26.7 and SD 19.5. School children and the self employed were the most affected. Majority (47.8%) of the injured people lived within a radius of 10km from the hospital and the biggest percentage (67%) presented as self referrals to the general hospitals. Majority (89.6%) of the injuries were in the extremities (91%) but mainly in the upper extremities (51%). However, the tibia- fibula was the commonest fractured bone (27.7% ). The spine and pelvis were the least affected 1.2% each. In all the injuries seen, majority (91%) were closed. RTAs were the main cause of musculoskeletal injuries and the motorcycles contributed the biggest percentage (68%). Pedestrians were the most affected (51%) road users. Majority (83%) of the injuries occurred during the day and the highest percentage (53.7%) of all the musculoskeletal injured patients were able to reach at the public general hospital within 12 hours of their injury. Conclusion: The majority of musculoskeletal injuries are fractures of the extremities occurring to the youths as a result of motorcycles’ related RTAs. Pedestrians are the most affected and they present as self referrals to the public General Hospitals. Recommendation: The general hospitals should be empowered in terms of all the resources to handle the musculoskeletal injuries.