Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Print version ISSN 0042-9686
LONDON, Jason et al. Using mortuary statistics in the development of an injury surveillance system in Ghana. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2002, vol.80, n.5, pp. 357-364. ISSN 0042-9686. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0042-96862002000500005.
OBJECTIVE: To develop, in a mortuary setting, a pilot programme for improving the accuracy of records of deaths caused by injury. METHODS: The recording of injury-related deaths was upgraded at the mortuary of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana, in 1996 through the creation of a prospectively gathered database. FINDINGS: There was an increase in the number of deaths reported annually as attributable to injury from 72 before 1995 to 633 in 1996-99. Injuries accounted for 8.6% of all deaths recorded in the mortuary and for 12% of deaths in the age range 15-59 years; 80% of deaths caused by injury occurred outside the hospital and thus would not have been indicated in hospital statistics; 88% of injury-related deaths were associated with transport, and 50% of these involved injuries to pedestrians. CONCLUSIONS: Injury was a significant cause of mortality in this urban African setting, especially among adults of working age. The reporting of injury-related deaths in a mortuary was made more complete and accurate by means of simple inexpensive methods. This source of data could make a significant contribution to an injury surveillance system, along with hospital records and police accident reports.
Keywords : Wounds and injuries [mortality]; Accidents; Traffic [mortality]; Cause of death; Mortuary practice; Data collection [methods]; Ghana.