Objective: To define the scope of injury due to interpersonal violence in a medium-sized town in Western Kenya.
Design: Prospective, cross-sectional data collection and analysis.
Setting/subjects: Data were prospectively collected on all injured patients (n = 562) presenting to a health center in Western Kenya, 2002–2004. Age, gender, type, and severity of injury, relationship to assailant, disposition, and clinician’s suspicion of alcohol use were recorded.
Main outcome measures: Number of injuries due to interpersonal violence; correlation of gender, alcohol use, relationship to assailant, and type of injury.
Results: Interpersonal violence caused 43% of all injuries. Men and women were equally likely to suffer violent injuries (42% vs 45%); however, women were more likely to suffer injury from domestic violence (4.7% vs 7.0%) and sexual assault (0% vs 3.5%). Men and women were equally likely to know their assailant. Women were more likely to be injured by a spouse/partner (19% vs 1.3%), whereas men were more likely to be injured by an acquaintance (29% vs 16%). Alcohol use was more often suspected for victims of violent, as opposed to unintentional, injury (45% vs 16%). Men with violent injuries were more likely than women to be suspected of having used alcohol (51% vs 35%).
Conclusions: Interpersonal violence is a leading cause of injury in Western Kenya. Although men and women are equally likely to be assaulted, women are more likely to be injured by a spouse, and men by an acquaintance. Alcohol use is common among those who suffer violent injuries in this population.
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Contributors: MLR conceived research questions and was the primary analyzer/interpreter of the data, the primary author, and the guarantor of the paper. WO conceived and designed the database, made critical revisions, and gave final approval. MW contributed to research questions and analysis and made critical revisions. MJM contributed to research questions and analysis, made critical revisions, and gave final approval. RSF contributed to research questions, analysis, and authorship and made critical revisions.
Funding: Initial database design and data collection was supported by a grant to WWO from the National Institute of Health, Fogarty International Center, Medical Informatics Fellowship (1-D43-TW01082).
Competing interests: None.