Epidemiology of Childhood Fractures at a Ghanaian Teaching Hospital
Introduction: Paediatric fractures are extremely common worldwide largely because of peculiarities of the growing skeleton. There isn’t much known of the epidemiology of childhood fractures in sub-Saharan Africa. This study describes the childhood fractures seen and managed at a teaching hospital in Ghana.
Method: A prospective study of all children who presented with fractures at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) which is the largest referral centre in the central region of Ghana. 182 children were seen with fractures in the 12 month period of the study and variables of age, gender, fracture type, fracture characteristics, mechanism and place of injury were evaluated using SPSS version 21.
Results: 182 childhood fractures were seen. 82% of the fractures were in children greater than 3 years with fractures being commoner in boys(67%) than in girls(33%). 50% of the fractures resulted from falls in the home or playground with upper extremity injuries(56%) predominating. An overwhelming majority (92%) were treated non-operatively. Open fractures accounted for 11.5% of all the fractures seen.
Conclusion: A lot can be done to prevent fractures in children in developing countries. Education of parents and caregivers on ways to prevent injurious falls in children at home or on the playground will go a long way in reducing the number of fractures seen. Improved road safety and better settlement planning will minimize the high energy injuries resulting from road traffic accidents.
Richard Ogirma Baidoo*