Nine-point plan to improve care of the injured patient: A case study from Kenya

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Abstract

Background.

Injury rates in low- and middle-income countries are among the greatest in the world, with >90% of unintentional injury occurring in low- or middle-income countries. The risk of death from injuries is 6 times more in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. This increased rate of injury is partly due to the lack of availability and access to timely and appropriate medical care for injured individuals. Kenya, like most low- and middle-income countries, has seen a 5-fold increase in injury fatalities throughout the past 4 decades, in large part related to the absence of a coordinated, integrated system of trauma care.

Methods.

We aimed to assess the trauma-care system in Kenya and to develop and implement a plan to improve it. A trauma system profile was performed to understand the landscape for the care of the injured patient in Kenya. This process helped identify key gaps in care ranging from prehospital to hospital-based care.

Results.

In response to this observation, a 9-point plan to improve trauma care in Kenya was developed and implemented in close collaboration with local stakeholders. The 9-point plan was centered on engagement of the stakeholders, generation of key data to guide and improve services, capacity development for prehospital and hospital care, and strengthening policy and legislation.

Conclusion.

There is an urgent need for coordinated strategies to provide appropriate and timely medical care to injured individuals in low- or middle-income countries to decrease the burden of injuries and related fatalities. Our work in Kenya shows that such an integrated system of trauma care could be achieved through a step-by-step integrated and multifaceted approach that emphasizes engagement of local stakeholders and evidence-based approaches to ensure effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of system-wide improvements. This plan and lessons learned in its development and implementation could be adaptable to other similar settings to improve the care of the injured patient in low- or middle-income countries.

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