Background A Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) facilitate and prolong violence, which has enormous public health consequences. This study describes the prevalence, types, risk factors of and outcomes of SALW injuries in a relatively insurgent free state. The cases of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) injuries admitted in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto (UDUTH) between January 2003- December 2012 were examined. The prevalence of SALW use in Nigeria is unknown, and with the rising spate of ethno-religious conflicts and political unrest, there may be an increase in the propagation of SALWs use and consequent injuries; hence the need to examine the prevalence of hospital admission due to SALW injury and its Public Health implications.
Methods The study was a quantitative research using a cross sectional approach to assess prevalence, risk factors, types of injury and treatment outcomes of small arms and light weapons injuries in UDUTH in Sokoto State of Nigeria using patient folder audit. Data from the case files of 299 randomly selected victims of SALW injuries over a ten-year period was extracted and analysed to determine the prevalence, types of injuries and outcome of treatment. Bivariate analysis of dependent and independent variables were done to establish association with treatment outcome.
Results Analysis of the 299 case files established a prevalence of 0.07%, with 14% fatality, and peak age range of 26–35 years. The commonest types of injuries were wounds, systemic organ injuries and fractures. Brain trauma, though not very common had 75% mortality while systemic organ injury had 24.6% mortality. Significant association was established between nature of injury, education, residence, area of occurrence, context of injury and year of occurrence and treatment outcome. Nature of injury and residence were the only predictors of treatment outcome.
Conclusions This study established 0.07% prevalence of SALW injuries with nature of injury and residence as significant predictors of treatment outcome in UDUTH Sokoto. Strategies to promote the prevention of SALW injuries and good treatment outcome should focus on those predictors.
- SALWs injuries
- Public Health
- Treatment outcomes
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