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Journal Article


Gyedu A, Boakye G, Quansah R, Donkor P, Mock C. Pan. Afr. Med. J. 2021; 38: e401.


(Copyright © 2021, African Field Epidemiology Network)






INTRODUCTION: falls contribute to almost one-fifth of injury-related deaths. The majority of these occur in low- and middle-income countries. The impact of fall injury in low- and middle-income countries is greater in younger individuals. We aimed to determine the epidemiology of falls among rural Ghanaian children.

METHODS: from March to May, 2018, we conducted a cluster-randomized household survey of caregivers in a rural Ghanaian sub-district, regarding household child falls and their severity. We utilized a previously validated survey tool for household child injury. Associations between household child falls and previously described predictors of household child injury were examined with multivariable logistic regression. These included age and gender of the child, household socioeconomic status, caregiver education, employment status, and their beliefs on why household child injuries occur.

RESULTS: three hundred and fifty-seven caregivers of 1,016 children were surveyed. One hundred and sixty-four children under 18 years had sustained a household fall within the past six months, giving a household child fall prevalence of 16% (95% C.I, 14%-19%). Mean age was 4.4 years; 59% were males. Ground level falls were more common (80%). Severity was mostly moderate (86%). Most caregivers believed household child injuries occurred due to lack of supervision (85%) or unsafe environment (75%); only 2% believed it occurred because of fate. Girls had reduced odds of household falls (adjusted O.R 0.6; 95% C.I 0.4-0.9). Five to nine year-old and 15-17 year-old children had reduced odds of household falls (adjusted O.R 0.4; 95% C.I 0.2-0.7 and 0.1; 95% C.I 0.02-0.3, respectively) compared to 1-4 year-olds. Caregiver engagement in non-salary paying work was associated with increased odds of household child falls (adjusted O.R 2.2; 95% C.I 1.0-4.7) compared to unemployed caregivers. There was no association between household child falls and caregiver education, socioeconomic status and beliefs about why household child injuries occurred.

CONCLUSION: the prevalence of household child falls in rural Ghana was 16%. This study confirms the need to improve supervision of all children to reduce household falls, especially younger children and particularly boys. Majority of caregivers also acknowledge the role of improper child supervision and unsafe environments in household child falls. These beliefs should be reinforced and emphasized in campaigns to prevent household child falls in rural communities.

Language: en


child; Ghana; household; Household falls; rural


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