UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Physical trauma and injury : A multi-center study comparing local residents and refugees in Lebanon Al-Hajj, Samar; Chahrour, Mohamad A; Nasrallah, Ali A; Hamed, Lara; Pike, Ian


Background: Refugees are susceptible to various types of injury mechanisms associated with their dire living conditions and settlements. This study aims to compare and characterize the emergency department admissions due to physical trauma and injuries among local residents and refugees in greater Beirut. Methods: This epidemiological study analyzes injury incidence and characteristics of patients presenting to Emergency Departments of 5 sentinel hospitals between 2017 and 2019. Using the WHO Injury Surveillance Guidelines and Pan-Asia Trauma Outcomes Study form, an injury data surveillance form was designed and used in hospital settings to collect data on injuries. Chi-square test analysis was performed to compare differences in injury characteristics between local residents and refugees. Regression models were constructed to assess the effect of being a refugee on the characteristics of injuries and outcomes of interest. Results: A total of 4847 injuries (3933 local residents and 914 refugees)were reported. 87.4% of the total injuries among refugees were sustained by the younger age groups 0-45 years compared to 68.8% among local residents. The most prevalent injury mechanism was fall (39.4%) for locals and road traffic injury (31.5%) for refugees. The most injured body part was extremities for both populations (78.2% and 80.1%). Injuries mostly occurred at home or its vicinity (garden or inside the camp) for both populations (29.3% and 23.1%). Refugees sustained a higher proportion of injuries at work (6%) compared to locals (1.3%). On multivariate analysis, refugee status was associated with higher odds of having an injury due to a stab/gunshot (odds ratio (OR) = 3.392, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.605-4.416), having a concussion injury (OR = 1.718, 95% CI = 1.151-2.565), and being injured at work (OR = 4.147, 95% CI = 2.74-6.278). Refugee status was associated with increased odds of leaving the hospital with injury-related disability (OR = 2.271, 95% CI = 1.891-2.728)] Conclusions: Injury remains a major public health problem among resident and refugee communities in Beirut, Lebanon. Refugees face several injury-related vulnerabilities, which adversely affect their treatment outcomes and long-term disabilities. The high prevalence of occupational and violence-related injuries among refugees necessitates the introduction of targeted occupational safety and financial security interventions, aiming at reducing injuries while enhancing social justice among residents.

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