Document Type


Publication Date



School of Medicine


Emergency Medicine


Background Resource-limited settings are increasingly experiencing a ‘triple burden’ of disease, composed of trauma, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and known communicable disease patterns. However, the epidemiology of acute and emergency care is not well characterised and this limits efforts to further develop emergency care capacity.

Objective To define the burden of disease by describing the patient population presenting to the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Kenya.

Methods We completed a prospective descriptive assessment of patients in KNH’s A&E obtained via systematic sampling over 3 months. Research assistants collected data directly from patients and their charts. Chief complaint and diagnosis codes were grouped for analysis. Patient demographic characteristics were described using the mean and SD for age and n and percentages for categorical variables. International Classification of Disease 10 codes were categorised by 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study methods.

Results Data were collected prospectively on 402 patients with an average age of 36 years (SD 19), and of whom, 50% were female. Patients were most likely to arrive by taxi or bus (39%), walking (28%) or ambulance (17%). Thirty-five per cent of patients were diagnosed with NCDs, 24% with injuries and 16% with communicable diseases, maternal and neonatal conditions. Overall, head injury was the single most common final diagnosis and occurred in 32 (8%) patients. The most common patient-reported mechanism for head injury was road traffic accident (39%).

Conclusion This study estimates the characteristics of the A&E population at a tertiary centre in Kenya and highlights the triple burden of disease. Our findings emphasise the need for further development of emergency care resources and training to better address patient needs in resource-limited settings, such as KNH.

Source Citation

Myers JG, Hunold KM, Ekernas K, et alPatient characteristics of the Accident and Emergency Department of Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya: a cross-sectional, prospective analysisBMJ Open 2017;7:e014974. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014974


© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2017. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

This article was supported by the WVU Libraries’ Open Access Author Fund.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.