Widespread Injury


Why is injury so widespread in low-income countries?


Pierre is a seven-year old boy living in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. When he was playing soccer with his friends, the ball rolled into the middle of a road and when he chased after it, he was hit by a motorcycle. In the accident, he broke both legs. He is in desperate need of extensive surgery, but since the nearby clinic is lacking post-operative pain medications, his does not want him to go into surgery. She does not think he would be able to handle the pain from operations on both of his legs. As a result, she chose basic surgery. Pierre will never have full function of both legs again.  


Alongside cancer, maternal hemorrhaging, and hernias, there is another kind of medical condition that hurts and/or takes lives every year: injury.


There are countless ways we can injure ourselves daily, all ranging from motor vehicle accidents to shootings to accidental falls and burns. While some might not seem life threatening at first, if left untreated, any injury can turn fatal. As a result, injury is considered a disease state and it affects millions worldwide each year.


Injury is considered a disease state and thus the direct link that exists between poverty and disease includes injury and violence.


What one living in the developed world might consider helmets and seatbelts to be basic life saving items, they can be considered as hard to come by in the developing world. Safety regulations, restrictions on weapons, and injury prevention campaigns are tools that are used in wealthier countries to prevent injury and violence and do not exist in some low-income countries.


The high levels of injury and violence in low-income countries call for further research on how much the injuries affect their populations and for identification of the steps that need to be taken to reduce the high levels.