Background: Injuries are quickly becoming a leading cause of death globally, disproportionately affecting sub-Saharan Africa, where reports on the epidemiology of injuries are extremely limited. Reports on the patterns and frequency of injuries are available from Cameroon are also scarce. This study explores the patterns of trauma seen at the emergency ward of the busiest trauma center in Cameroon's capital city. Materials and methods: Administrative records from January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2007, were retrospectively reviewed; information on age, gender, mechanism of injury, and outcome was abstracted for all trauma patients presenting to the emergency ward. Univariate analysis was performed to assess patterns of injuries in terms of mechanism, date, age, and gender. Bivariate analysis was used to explore potential relationships between demographic variables and mechanism of injury. Results: A total of 6,234 injured people were seen at the Central Hospital of Yaoundé's emergency ward during the year 2007. Males comprised 71% of those injured, and the mean age of injured patients was 29 years (SD = 14.9). Nearly 60% of the injuries were due to road traffic accidents, 46% of which involved a pedestrian. Intentional injuries were the second most common mechanism of injury (22.5%), 55% of which involved unarmed assault. Patients injured in falls were more likely to be admitted to the hospital (p < 0.001), whereas patients suffering intentional injuries and bites were less likely to be hospitalized (p < 0.001). Males were significantly more likely to be admitted than females (p < 0.001) Discussion: Patterns in terms of age, gender, and mechanism of injury are similar to reports from other countries from the same geographic region, but the magnitude of cases reported is high for a single institution in an African city the size of Yaoundé. As the burden of disease is predicted to increase dramatically in sub-Saharan Africa, immediate efforts in prevention and treatment in Cameroon are strongly warranted.
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