Injury burdens and care delivery in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kigali, Rwanda: A prospective interrupted cross-sectional study

Chantal Uwamahoro, Catalina Gonzalez Marques, Aly Beeman, Zeta Mutabazi, Francois Regis Twagirumukiza, Ling Jing, Vincent Ndebwanimana, Doris Uwamahoro, Menelas Nkeshimana, Oliver Y. Tang, Sonya Naganathan, Spandana Jarmale, Andrew Stephen, Adam R. Aluisio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Injuries cause significant burdens in sub-Saharan Africa. In Rwanda, national regulations to reduce COVID-19 altered population mobility and resource allocations. This study evaluated epidemiological trends and care among injured patients preceding and during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali (CHUK) in Kigali, Rwanda. Methods: This prospective interrupted cross-sectional study enrolled injured adult patients (≥15 years) presenting to the CHUK emergency department (ED) from January 27th-March 21st (pre-COVID-19 period) and June 1st-28th (intra-COVID-19 period). Trained study personnel continuously collected standardized data on enrolled participants through the first six-hours of ED care. The Kampala Trauma Score (KTS) was calculated as a metric of injury severity. Case characteristics prior to and during the pandemic were compared, statistical differences were assessed using χ2 or Fisher's exact tests. Results: Data were collected from 409 pre-COVID-19 and 194 intra-COVID-19 cases. Median age was 32, with a male predominance (74.3%). Road traffic injuries (RTI) were the most common injury mechanism pre-COVID-19 (47.8%) and intra-COVID-19 (53.6%) (p = 0.27). There was a significant increase in the number of transfer cases during the intra-COVID-19 period (52.1%) versus pre-COVID-19 (41.3%) (p = 0.01). KTS was significantly lower among intra-COVID-19 patients (p = 0.04), indicating higher severity of presentation. In the intra-COVID-19 period, there was a significant increase in the number of surgery consultations (40.7%) versus pre-COVID-19 (26.7%) (p < 0.001). The number of hospital admissions increased from 35.5% pre-COVID-19 to 46.4% intra-COVID-19 (p = 0.01). There was no significant mortality difference pre-COVID-19 as compared to the intra-COVID-19 period among injured patients (p = 0.76). Conclusion: Emergency injury care showed increased injury burden, inpatient admission and resource requirements during the pandemic period. This suggests the spectrum of disease may be more severe and that greater resources for injury management may continue to be needed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Rwanda and other similar settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-428
Number of pages7
JournalAfrican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Global health
  • Injury care
  • Lockdown
  • Rwanda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency
  • Critical Care
  • Emergency Medicine


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