Background The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a high-income developing country where an estimated 80% of the population is expatriates. The vast majority are males between 15 and 45 years of age from South East Asia who migrate for employment. As temporary labourers in the UAE, many find employment in construction and oil where they are exposed to occupational hazards. Little has been documented about injury-associated mortality among this special population, especially in comparison to UAE citizens.
Methods World Health Organisation and Global Burden of Disease Study protocols were followed to conduct a national burden of disease analysis. Mortality data from the Ministry of Health was used to calculate cause-specific injury death rates for males aged 15–45 years. Years of Life Lost (YLLs) were also calculated and analysed by age-group and nationality.
Results Using 2010 data, the overall injury-related mortality rate for migrant males aged 15–45 years was 28.0 per 100,000 and the leading causes of injury deaths were road traffic injuries (22.6% of all deaths), suicides (7.5%), other adverse effects (5.8%) and falls (4.3%). Leading causes of injury YLLs for this group were road traffic injuries (28,307 YLLs), suicides (10,276) and other adverse events (6,186). For similarly-aged male UAE citizens, the overall injury-related mortality rate was 65.0 per 100,000, with the leading causes being road traffic injuries (43.2% of all deaths), other adverse effects (6%) and drowning (1.3%).
Conclusions Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are a major cause of premature mortality among young male residents regardless of nationality. Much of the difference in injury deaths between migrants and citizens is caused by RTIs. However, migrants experience a much greater burden of non-RTI injuries, including falls and intentional injuries like suicides. This study highlights the need for suicide-prevention and occupational-safety programs for young male migrants in the UAE.
- injury deaths
- occupational injuries