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Researchers aim to cut child injury in Pakistani homes

September / October 2014 | Volume 13, Issue 5

Two young Pakistani children look at camera
Photo courtesy of PAIMAN
via Photoshare

Studies in Pakistan have shown that young children face a high burden of lifelong disability or death due to accidental injury in their homes, where they spend most of their time. Much harm could be avoided if adults were aware of the danger inherent in hazards such as uncovered water vats, unattended knives, open fires and accessible toxins.

A team of scientists investigated whether disseminating risk information to caregivers of a child aged 1-5 years reduced hazards around the home. It was led by former Fogarty trainee Dr. Uzma Rahim Khan, now an Aga Khan University senior instructor and project coordinator for Fogarty's injury and trauma program there. For the community-based pilot study, the team visited homes to assess hazards and also deliver education to caretakers on how to lower injury risk. The education was given via a pamphlet or verbally in a tutorial during the home assessment.

The team found that tutorials were more effective than pamphlets in mitigating the numbers of hazards. A follow-up study will analyze whether injury rates likewise decline. The study's assessment and education tools are tailored to a low-income community, and this has inspired similar research projects in Malaysia and Nepal.

Khan is also researching injury prevention in adults, for instance, by investigating the role of loose-fitting clothing in motorcycle passenger accidents and by identifying ways to prevent such threats, such as education about suitable clothing and bike chain covers.

More Information



Home injury risks to young children in Karachi, Pakistan: a pilot study. Arch Dis Child. 2013 Nov;98(11):881-6. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2013-303907. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Clothing-related motorcycle injuries in Pakistan: findings from a surveillance study. Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2014 Jun 2:1-6. [Epub ahead of print]

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