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Burden Calculator: a simple and open analytical tool for estimating the population burden of injuries

Abstract

Background Burden of disease and injury methods can be used to summarise and compare the effects of conditions in terms of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Burden estimation methods are not inherently complex. However, as commonly implemented, the methods include complex modelling and estimation.

Objectives To provide a simple and open-source software tool that allows estimation of incidence-DALYs due to injury, given data on incidence of deaths and non-fatal injuries. The tool includes a default set of estimation parameters, which can be replaced by users.

Development of the software tool The tool was written in Microsoft Excel. All calculations and values can be seen and altered by users. The parameter sets currently used in the tool are based on published sources.

Using the software tool The tool is available without charge online at http://calculator.globalburdenofinjuries.org. To use the tool with the supplied parameter sets, users need to only paste a table of population and injury case data organised by age, sex and external cause of injury into a specified location in the tool. Estimated DALYs can be read or copied from tables and figures in another part of the tool.

Conclusions In some contexts, a simple and user-modifiable burden calculator may be preferable to undertaking a more complex study to estimate the burden of disease. The tool and the parameter sets required for its use can be improved by user innovation, by studies comparing DALYs estimates calculated in this way and in other ways, and by shared experience of its use.

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