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Injuries from interpersonal violence presenting to a rural health center in Western Kenya: characteristics and correlates


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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