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Southern Africa (and beyond) report
  1. David Bass
  1. Department of Paediatric Surgery, Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa

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    I am constantly aware that most of my reports selfishly concentrate on happenings in Southern Africa. Occasionally, I am able to glean the odd item on what is happening further north from news reports, what little there is on the internet, or from that outstanding monthly, “BBC Africa”. Rather than bore readers with poor excuses for this imbalance, may I rather reconfirm that I would welcome news (in any form whatsoever) related to childhood injury in Africa, and inclusion of which would allow this column to become more representative of the entire continent than it currently is. Those who are kind enough to submit news items will be personally acknowledged.

    Having got that off my chest, I am thrilled to report on a fresh and exciting injury prevention campaign that has been hatched in Uganda, thanks to both support and input of local and international agencies. I am extremely grateful to Dr Olive Kobusingye, Director of the Injury Control Centre based at Makerere Medical School in Kampala, for providing me with the following information:

    “Representatives from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and the World Health Organization (WHO) met on December 15–17 in Entebbe, Uganda at the joint WHO/Injury Control Centre Uganda (ICC-U) Working Group Meeting on Injury Prevention and Control in East and Southern Africa. Participants focused on the health sector issues of injury surveillance emergency medical systems, and health professional training in injury epidemiology and trauma care. A set of recommendations was formulated which has the potential to be a milestone for injury prevention in Africa.

    The adoption of a standardized minimum data set for hospital based injury surveillance was discussed. A trauma registry form tested and used by the ICC-U will be presented to injury control workers in participating countries for input and development of a common format; it is hoped that this data set will form the core of a common trauma registry system in these countries. The single page trauma registry form includes ICD-9 categories of injury, a severity instrument (the Kampala score), victim and event information, and intentionality. Operate definitions for the registry have been written, and the form has already been tested in Uganda and Ethiopia. The trauma registry form is sufficient for base line injury measurements while at the same time keeping the form short and simple enough for a range of health workers to fill out”.

    Contact details for ICC-U: Dr Olive Kobusingye, Makerere Medical School, PO Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda (fax: +256 41 530022; e-mail: olive{at}


    • Editor's note: While most Regional Reports have come from regular contributors—our team of Regional Editors—I am always delighted to receive contributions, regular or otherwise, from others, especially from parts of the world where we do not have Editorial Board members. Please send your contributions to the editor, Barry Pless.