Surveillance of interpersonal violence in Kingston, Jamaica: an evaluation

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Injuries are among the leading causes of death in Jamaica. Homicide rates have been sharply increasing since 1991. In 1997, the rate of homicide (45/100 000) in Jamaica was over five times the US rate in 1997 (7.9/100 000). In response to this problem and the alarming increase in non-fatal assaultive injuries, the Jamaican Ministry of Health together with the CDC established a Violence-Related Injury Surveillance System (VRISS) using patient registration data from Kingston Public Hospital. The VRISS was evaluated for usefulness, and for system attributes: system acceptability, simplicity, flexibility, sensitivity, and predictive value positive (PVP). System-identified cases were compared with clinical records and data from direct patient interviews. The surveillance system was flexible, acceptable to clinical staff and Ministry officials, and moderately sensitive, detecting 62% to 69% of violent injuries identified from clinical records and a patient survey. The system's predictive value positive was high, with 86% of potential cases confirmed as actual cases. Although adequate, system sensitivity was reduced by incomplete or no registration of patients during periods of staff shortage. In conclusion, despite some logistic shortcomings, the system appeared promising for collecting limited information on non-fatal interpersonal violent injuries. With modification and expansion, the system may be capable of collecting unintentional-injury data also.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2002

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