Original Research

Epidemiology of interpersonal violence at a regional hospital emergency unit in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Amitabh Mitra, Uchenna B. Okafor, Ramprakash Kaswa, Oladele V. Adeniyi
South African Family Practice | Vol 64, No 1 : Part 2| a5511 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v64i1.5511 | © 2022 Amitabh Mitra, Uchenna B. Okafor, Ramprakash Kaswa, Oladele V. Adeniyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 February 2022 | Published: 24 May 2022

About the author(s)

Amitabh Mitra, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa
Uchenna B. Okafor, Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Ramprakash Kaswa, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa
Oladele V. Adeniyi, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: This study describes the profile, mechanism and pattern of injuries, and highlights important gaps in clinicians’ consultations with patients who experienced interpersonal violence (IPV) in the predominantly black South African township of Mdantsane, Eastern Cape.

Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted at the Cecilia Makiwane Regional Hospital, Mdantsane. Medical records of patients who received emergency care for trauma between 01 December 2017 and 31 March 2018 were reviewed. The records of patients identified with IPV were selected for further analysis. Data were disaggregated by demographics, mechanism of injuries and circumstances of the incidents using simple descriptive statistics.

Results: A total of 1064 patients reported IPV as the mechanism of injury for emergency department (ED) visits, accounting for 42.4% of all trauma-related injuries. The majority of patients with IPV were men (72.0%), unemployed (78.0%) and single (89.0%). Blunt force injury was the most common pattern of injury (53.3%); about half (50.5%) of the incidents took place in the patients’ homes. The majority of the patients (68%) knew their assailants, and a quarter of them were an intimate partner of the assailant (27.6%). The flow of patient with IPV to the ED was skewed towards the weekend (weekend effect). Also, there was an upward trend in the flow of patients with IPV to the ED from 19:00 onwards, reaching a peak at 20:00.

Conclusion: Interpersonal violence is the most prevalent mechanism of injury reported in this region. It is crucial to engage stakeholders in the design of interventions in order to reduce IPV-related injuries in the region.


Keywords

assault; Eastern Cape; emergency department; interpersonal violence; South Africa

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