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Keywords:

  • child;
  • Fiji;
  • injury;
  • Pacific Island;
  • surveillance

Aim

Although childhood injury rates in low- and middle-income countries are known to be high, contemporary data on this topic from Pacific Island countries and territories are scant. We describe the epidemiology of childhood injuries resulting in death or hospital admission in Fiji using a population-based registry.

Methods

A cross-sectional analysis of the Fiji Injury Surveillance in Hospitals system investigated the characteristics associated with childhood injuries (<15 years) in Viti Levu, resulting in death or hospital admission (≥12 h) from October 2005 to September 2006.

Results

The 496 children meeting the study eligibility criteria corresponded to annual injury-related hospitalisation and death rates of 265.4 and 15.3 per 100 000, respectively. Most (82%) deaths occurred prior to hospitalisation. The death and hospitalisation rates were highest among the <5- and 5- to 9-year groups, respectively. Males and indigenous Fijian children were at increased risk of injury. The leading causes of injury death were road traffic injury (29%), choking (25%) and drowning (18%). Major causes of hospital admission were falls (48%), burns (13%), road traffic injury (11%) and being hit by a person or object (10%). Fractures and head injuries were the most common types of injury.

Conclusion

The findings support the need for a national strategy that builds capacity and mobilises resources to prevent childhood injuries in Fiji. Priority actions should include investment in technical support and research to identify local contextual and social determinants that inform the development and implementation of effective injury prevention interventions as a child health survival strategy.