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Population-based estimates of injuries in Sri Lanka
  1. K V Navaratne1,2,3,
  2. P Fonseka1,
  3. L Rajapakshe4,
  4. L Somatunga5,
  5. S Ameratunga6,
  6. R Ivers3,
  7. R Dandona3,7
  1. 1
    Department of Community Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Galle, Sri Lanka
  2. 2
    Post Graduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  3. 3
    George Institute for International Health and School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  4. 4
    Department of Community Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  5. 5
    Non-Communicable Diseases Unit, Ministry of Health, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  6. 6
    Section of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  7. 7
    George Institute for International Health–India, Hyderabad, India
  1. Dr K V Navaratne, 163/24, Nawala Road, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka; knavaratne{at}


Background: Injuries are the leading cause of public hospital admission in Sri Lanka. Data on injury epidemiology to plan prevention programmes to reduce injury burden are not readily available.

Objectives: To assess the incidence of various types of injuries in the Galle district, Sri Lanka.

Methods: 9568 individuals of all ages were selected from 2000 households in a population-based cross-sectional survey using a stratified cluster sampling technique. Data on non-fatal injuries in the last 30 days irrespective of severity, fatal injuries and those that resulted in disability in the last 12 months were documented. Proxy data were used for half of the injury cases.

Results: 195 (2%) individuals reported non-fatal injuries during the last 30 days, giving an age-sex-urban-rural adjusted annual incidence of 24.6 per 100 population. The leading causes of non-fatal injuries were falls (adjusted annual incidence 6.7 per 100 population, 95% CI 6.0 to 7.3) and mechanical injuries (6.3; 95% CI 5.7 to 6.8), followed by road traffic injuries (4.9; 95% CI 4.4 to 5.5). 114 (58.5%) individuals needed outpatient care and 50 (25.6%) needed inpatient care for their injuries. The annual injury mortality rate and disability rate were 177 (95% CI 72 to 283) and 290 (95% CI 250 to 330) per 100 000 population, respectively.

Conclusions: Nearly one in four people reported non-fatal injury; the majority sought medical attention in this population. It is important to utilise injury epidemiology to develop and implement interventions to reduce the burden of injuries in the population and on the hospitals in Sri Lanka.

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  • Funding: This study was funded by the World Health Organization, Colombo through the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. RD is supported in part by the National Health and Medical Research Council Capacity Building Grant in Injury Prevention and Trauma Care, Australia.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: The survey was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Galle, Sri Lanka.

  • Contributors: KVN conceptualised and designed the study, led data collection and analysis, and wrote the first draft of this manuscript; PF and LR contributed to conceptualisation, design and implementation of the study; LS contributed to conceptualisation of the study; SA contributed to conceptualisation and design of the study and data interpretation; RI provided technical input; and RD contributed to data analysis, interpretation and writing of the draft manuscript. All authors contributed to the manuscript.