Background: Worldwide, the major cause of injury deaths is due to unintentional injuries with more than two-third occur in developing countries including Pakistan. This study finds out the frequency and type of injuries occurring in schools in Karachi. The need for preventative measures such as surveillance by school staff and their preparedness for emergencies are also highlighted.
Subjects & Methods: It was a cross-sectional study carried out in private and public sector schools during July to August 2007. A self-administered questionnaire was completed by principals and heads of the schools. Forty-seven schools of Karachi participated in the study and reported on the frequency of cause of specific types of injuries and on the level of surveillance of school grounds. Observations made during the visited schools were also included in the data.
Results: Of the 47 schools surveyed, 25 were private while 22 were in public sector. The mean number of students for each class was 33.0 (CI 95% 25.4, 40.7). Approximately 2.5 students (CI 95% 1.6, 3.2) were involved in injuries/accidents in each of the 3 months when the survey was conducted. The two most commonly occurring injuries in public and private schools alike, included falls sustained during playing and injuries caused during fights. The third most common reason for injuries in public schools was punishment by teachers, whereas in private schools injuries were caused by fixtures. The majority of schools provided surveillance of students during breaks; however, nearly 28% of both private and public schools denied that such surveillance was needed. Records of past injuries were almost non-existent.
Conclusions: Most common injuries among schoolchildren are preventable. Liaison with the nearest emergency centre along with proper record keeping is required for effective injury prevention.
Key words: school injury, injury prevention, non-fatal injuries, children injuries