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OBJECTIVE: To determine the magnitude, socio-demographic and epidemiological characteristics of injury at a Provincial referral hospital. METHODS: This review was conducted on all trauma patients admitted at the Mthatha Hospital Complex and Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital from the 1(st) January 1997 to the 31(st) December 2000. RESULTS: The incident rate of injuries was 3.2% (n=2460/75,833 total admissions). Injured patients were mostly black (80%) and males (ratio: 5 men: 1 woman). Only 8.1% of injured patients were transported to hospital by ambulances. The leading causes of injuries were inter-personal violence accounting for 60% of cases, and motor vehicle accidents accounting for 19%; of them 38% were due to poor visibility, over speeding, and fatigue. The overall mortality was 33% (n=821) independently predicted by poverty (OR=8.2 95%CI 6-11.1; P<0.0001) and age>40 years(OR=7.8 95%CI 7.7-12.1;P<0.0001). CONCLUSION: The burden of injury is a mass issue that warrants regional attention with quality of care and training.

Original publication




Journal article


Afr Health Sci

Publication Date





1144 - 1148


Injuries, South Africa, mortality, poverty, violence, Accidents, Traffic, Adolescent, Adult, Age Distribution, Female, Hospitalization, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Population Surveillance, Retrospective Studies, Sex Distribution, Socioeconomic Factors, South Africa, Violence, Wounds and Injuries, Young Adult