Economic loss due to traumatic injury in Uganda: The patient's perspective
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INTRODUCTION: Traumatic injury is a growing public health concern globally, and is a major cause of death and disability worldwide. The purpose of this study was to quantify the socioeconomic impact of lower extremity fractures in Uganda. METHODS: All adult patients presenting acutely to Uganda's national referral hospital with a single long bone lower extremity fracture in October 2013 were recruited. Consenting patients were surveyed at admission and again at six-months and 12-months post-injury. The primary outcome was the cumulative 12-month post-injury loss in income. Secondary outcome measures included the change in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and the injury's effect on school attendance for the patients' dependents. RESULTS: Seventy-four patients were recruited during the study period. Sixty-four (86%) of the patients were available for 12-months of follow-up. Compared to pre-injury earnings, patients lost 88.4% ($1822 USD) of their annual income in the 12-months following their injury. To offset this loss in income, patients borrowed an average of 28% of their pre-injury annual income. Using the EuroQol-5D instrument, the mean HRQoL decreased from 0.91 prior to the injury to 0.39 (p<0.0001) at 12-months post-injury. Ninety-three percent of school-aged dependents missed at least one month of school during their guardian's recovery and only 61% had returned to school by 12-months post-injury. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that lower extremity fractures in Uganda had a profound impact on the socioeconomic status of the individuals in our sample population, as well as the socioeconomic health of the family unit.
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