Background: Injuries in Jamaica are a major public health problem as demonstrated by a hospital based computerized injury surveillance system established in 1999 that provides a risk profile for injuries.
Subjects and Method: Injury data from 2004 were selected to provide an annual profile, as comprehensive injury data were available from nine public hospitals. These nine public hospitals provide care for 70% of the Jamaicans admitted to hospitals annually.
Results: Data are presented on unintentional injuries where falls caused 44%, lacerations 27% and accidental blunt injuries were 17% of these. For motor vehicle related injuries, 55% were sustained while commuting by motorcars, 17% while riding motorbikes/bicycles and 16% of those injured were pedestrians. Most violence related injuries were due to fights (76%) with acquaintances (47%) who used sharp objects (40%) to inflict the injury.
Conclusion: The Jamaica Injury Surveillance System (JISS) data, augmented by data collected on injuries from the health centres and the sentinel surveillance system, give a measure of the magnitude of the impact of injuries on the health services. The JISS provides data on the profile of injuries seen and treated at health facilities in Jamaica. In collaboration with police data and community-based surveys, it can be used to complete the risk profiles for different types of injuries. The data generated at the parish, regional and national levels form the basis for the design and monitoring of prevention programmes, as well as serve to support and evaluate policy, legislative control measures and measures that impact on interventions.