Document Type


Publication Date




Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are continuing to experience a “triple burden” of disease - traumatic injury, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and communicable disease with maternal and neonatal conditions (CD&Ms). The epidemiology of this triad is not well characterised and poses significant challenges to resource allocations, administration, and education of emergency care providers. The data collected in this study provide a comprehensive description of the emergency centre at Kenya's largest public tertiary care hospital.


This study is a retrospective chart review conducted at Kenyatta National Hospital of all patient encounters over a four-month period. Data were collected from financial and emergency centre triage records along with admission and mortality logbooks. Chief complaints and discharge diagnoses collected by specially trained research assistants were manually converted to standardised diagnoses using International Classification of Disease 10 (ICD-10) codes. ICD-10 codes were categorised into groups based on the ICD-10 classification system for presentation.


A total of 23,941 patients presented to the emergency centre during the study period for an estimated annual census of 71,823. The majority of patients were aged 18-64 years (58%) with 50% of patients being male and only 3% of unknown sex. The majority of patients (61%) were treated in the emergency centre, observed, and discharged home. Admission was the next most common disposition (33%) followed by death (6%). Head injury was the overall most common diagnosis (11%) associated with admission.


Trends toward NCDs and traumatic diseases have been described by this study and merit further investigation in both the urban and rural setting. Specifically, the significance of head injury on healthcare cost, utilisation, and patient death and disability points to the growing need of additional resources at Kenyatta National Hospital for acute care. It further demonstrates the mounting impact of trauma in Kenya and throughout the developing world.

Source Citation

Saleeby, J., Myers, J. G., Ekernas, K., Hunold, K., Wangara, A., Maingi, A., Wilson, P., Mutiso, V., Zamamiri, S., Bacon, D., Davis, W., Suder, J., Agrawal, Y., Ogar, O., Martin, I. B. K., & Dunlop, S. (2019). Retrospective review of the patient cases at a major trauma center in Nairobi, Kenya and implications for emergency care development. African Journal of Emergency Medicine, 9(3), 127–133.


African Journal of Emergency Medicine 9 (2019) 127–133Available online 02 July 20192211-419X/ 2019 African Federation for Emergency Medicine. Publishing services provided by Elsevier. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (



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.