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Epidemiology of paediatric poisoning reporting to a tertiary hospital in Ghana

Daniel Ansong, Clara Nkyi, Clement Osei Appiah, Evans Xorse Amuzu, Charles Ayekum Frimpong, Isaac Nyanor, Samuel Blay Nguah, Justice Sylverken

Abstract


Background. Childhood poisoning is an important cause of morbidity in both developed and developing countries. Epidemiological studies on accidental poisoning in children show a consistent pattern regarding age and gender. Childhood poisoning is predominant in children <6 years of age and has a male preponderance, as boys are more active with a drive to explore the environment.

Objective. To document the epidemiology of home poisonings in Kumasi and its environs. 

Methods. We conducted a retrospective study from January 2007 to January 2012 at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, a tertiary hospital in Ghana.

Results. Poisoning is a significant health problem in the study area. A total of 253 children reported to the hospital with poisoning over the 61-month period, with an average of four cases per month. The male to female ratio was 1.58:1. The median age of the children was 24 months (interquartile range 24 - 48 months). Kerosene was the leading cause of poisoning (39.5%). 

Conclusion. Paediatric poisoning is a major health hazard in children living in Kumasi and its environs. This can possibly be attributed to a lack of adequate supervision of children and poor storage of harmful substances in homes. Multidisciplinary interventions are needed to reduce the occurrence of the condition in the population at risk.


Authors' affiliations

Daniel Ansong, Department of Child Health, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi

Clara Nkyi, Department of Internal Medicine, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi

Clement Osei Appiah, Research and Development Unit, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi

Evans Xorse Amuzu, Research and Development Unit, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi,

Charles Ayekum Frimpong, Research and Development Unit, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi

Isaac Nyanor, Research and Development Unit, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi

Samuel Blay Nguah, Department of Child Health, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi

Justice Sylverken, Department of Child Health, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi

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Keywords

Poisons; children; kerosene, Africa; Ghana

Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2016;10(1):68-70. DOI:10.7196/SAJCH.2016.v10i1.1055

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-10-26
Date published: 2016-03-29

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