Child and Adolescent Safety

Dr. Michael L. Wilson
Director (CIPCS)

Injuries are a leading cause of death globally, with wide differences between and within countries. Injury rates are much higher in low-income countries (LICs), in particular those on the African continent and in groups and areas affected by resource deprivation. In SSA, injuries are the third leading cause of death. Few countries from the region have epidemiological data on child injury in and around the home and preventive programs are not common. Tanzania is no exception.

Young children aged 0-5 years are particularly vulnerable to injuries. They often lack the knowledge, motor skills and capacity to respond to dangers in their environment. Their safety is therefore often dependent on their caregivers. Children beyond preschool years are more capable of independently encountering situations that place them at risk. Child injury patterns differ therefore according to the stage of development with the majority of injuries involving young children occurring in and around the home. Poverty – as a key characteristic of material deprivation – has a compounding effect on injury circumstances and outcomes.

During the summer of 2009, we conducted Tanzania’s first large scale community based study designed to characterize the patterns and understand injury risks posed to children in the urban environment in Tanzania. The study was conducted in Dar es Salaam and encompassed some 4,000 children in 2,000 households. We are currently in the process of disseminating the results as widely as possible. Please visit our publications page for forthcoming reports and published manuscripts.

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