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Trauma care and capture rate of variables of World Health Organisation data set for injury at regional hospitals in Tanzania: first steps to a national trauma registry



In Tanzania, there is no national trauma registry. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a data set for injury that specifies the variables necessary for documenting the burden of injury and patient-related clinical processes. As a first step in developing and implementing a national Trauma Registry, we determined how well hospitals currently capture the variables that are specified in the WHO injury set.


This was a prospective, observational cross-sectional study of all trauma patients conducted in the Emergency Units of five regional referral hospitals in Tanzania from February 2018 to July 2018. Research assistants observed the provision of clinical care in the EU for all patients, and documented performed assessment, clinical interventions and final disposition. Research assistants used a purposefully designed case report form to audit the injury variable capture rate, and to review Ministry of Health (MoH) issued facility Register book recording the documentation of variables. We present descriptive statistics for hospital characteristics, patient volume, facility infrastructure, and capture rate of trauma variables.


During the study period, 2891 (9.3%) patients presented with trauma-related complaints, 70.7% were male. Overall, the capture rate of all variables was 33.6%. Documentation was most complete for demographics 71.6%, while initial clinical condition, and details of injury were documented in 20.5 and 20.8% respectively. There was no documentation for the care prior to Emergency Unit arrival in all hospitals. 1430 (49.5%) of all trauma-related visits seen were documented in the facility Health Management Information System register submitted to the MoH. Among the cases reported in the register book, the date of EU care was correctly documented in 77% cases, age 43.6%, diagnosis 66.7%, and outcome in 38.9% cases. Among the observed procedures, initial clinical condition (28.7%), interventions at Emergency Unit (52.1%), investigations (49.0%), and disposition (62.9%) were documented in the clinical charts.


In the regional hospitals of Tanzania, there is inadequate documentation of the minimum trauma variables specified in the WHO injury data set. Reasons for this are unclear, but will need to be addressed in order to improve documentation to inform a national injury registry.

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