Objective: Injuries are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Injuries disproportionately affect people living in low and middle income countries, including the Caribbean;
however, little is known about the epidemiology of injuries in these areas. An Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department injury surveillance system was established at the San Fernando General Hospital, Trinidad and Tobago, to address this important data gap.
Methods: A detailed overview of the objectives, data collection methods, and inherent strengths and limitations of this surveillance system are presented, along with results of an analysis of data collected during the first three years of operations (from 2002 to 2004).
Results: Trained hospital staff collect a variety of injury/poisoning, demographic and clinical data on nearly 20 000 patients presenting each year with injury to the A&E Department. The total number of injuries in men was almost twice that in women.
The majority of injuries were seen in those 25–44-years of age. Falls, other blunt force, stab/cut, traffic injury and poisoning represented the leading causes of injury. Nearly half of all the injuries occurred in the home, with the street/highway and work environments also accounting for an appreciable number of injuries. The majority of injuries were reported as unintentional.
Conclusion: Injuries represent an important population health and health services issue in South Trinidad. Data from the A&E Department injury surveillance system represent an important resource
to inform evidence-based health policy decisions on injury prevention and public health resource