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      Trauma: South Africa's other epidemic

      SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

      Health and Medical Publishing Group

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          The high burden of injuries in South Africa.

          To estimate the magnitude and characteristics of the injury burden in South Africa within a global context. The Actuarial Society of South Africa demographic and AIDS model (ASSA 2002) - calibrated to survey, census and adjusted vital registration data - was used to calculate the total number of deaths in 2000. Causes of death were determined from the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System profile. Injury death rates and years of life lost (YLL) were estimated using the Global Burden of Disease methodology. National years lived with disability (YLDs) were calculated by applying a ratio between YLLs and YLDs found in a local injury data source, the Cape Metropole Study. Mortality and disability-adjusted life years' (DALYs) rates were compared with African and global estimates. Interpersonal violence dominated the South African injury profile with age-standardized mortality rates at seven times the global rate. Injuries were the second-leading cause of loss of healthy life, accounting for 14.3% of all DALYs in South Africa in 2000. Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are the leading cause of injury in most regions of the world but South Africa has exceedingly high numbers - double the global rate. Injuries are an important public health issue in South Africa. Social and economic determinants of violence, many a legacy of apartheid policies, must be addressed to reduce inequalities in society and build community cohesion. Multisectoral interventions to reduce traffic injuries are also needed. We highlight this heavy burden to stress the need for effective prevention programmes.
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            Demographic profile of severe traumatic brain injury admissions to Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, 2006 - 2011

            BACKGROUND: Paediatric traumatic brain injury (PTBI) is a major public health problem. However, recent epidemiological data for PTBI in South Africa (SA) are lacking. OBJECTIVES: To establish a demographic profile of severe PTBI admissions to the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital (RCWMCH) over a 5-year period, by investigating trends in annual admissions, age, sex, language, time and day of injury, and aetiology. METHODS: This retrospective, descriptive, quantitative study included children admitted to the RCWMCH with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) between June 2006 and April 2011, who required intracranial monitoring. We used the Division of Paediatric Neurosurgery's TBI database to identify cases for inclusion in the study and to gather demographic and injury information. RESULTS: Descriptive statistics suggested that: (i) the number of annual admissions did not vary substantially across the study period; (ii) the peak admission age was 6 years; (iii) more boys than girls were admitted; (iv) the major mechanism of injury was pedestrian road traffic accidents; and (v) most injuries occurred on weekends. These results are discussed against the backdrop of international research on PTBI and reflect the extent to which epidemiological findings on TBI in high-income countries compare with those from low- and middle-income countries such as SA. CONCLUSION: The identification of aetiological factors and the description of demographic profiles of children sustaining TBI constitutes a basis for preventative policy administration and intervention strategies in SA.
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              Doctor shortages: Unpacking the 'Cuban solution'

               Chris Bateman (2013)

                Author and article information

                Role: ND
                SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
                SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j.
                Health and Medical Publishing Group (Cape Town )
                : 103
                : 9
                : 589-590


                Product Information: SciELO South Africa
                Health Care Sciences & Services
                Health Policy & Services
                Medical Ethics
                Medicine, General & Internal
                Medicine, Legal
                Medicine, Research & Experimental


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