Injury is a major public health concern, particularly for Canadians living in Arctic regions where the harsh physical and social conditions pose additional challenges. Surveillance data collected over the past 2 decades through the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP) provide insights into the burden of injuries in certain parts of Canada.
This study aims to summarize and compare patterns of injuries in the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut to other southern communities across Canada.
Analysis was based on CHIRPP data covering the period 1991-2010. Proportionate injury ratio (PIR) and its 95% confidence interval were used to summarize and compare the injury experience of Canadians living in the Arctic regions to other CHIRPP sites across Canada.
Between 1991 and 2010, there were 65,116 reported injuries. Approximately 83% of the cases were unintentional in nature; however, significantly higher proportions were observed for assaults and maltreatment (PIR = 2.80, 95% CI: 2.72-2.88) among Canadians living in northern communities. Significantly higher proportions were also observed for crushing/amputations (PIR = 2.28, 95% CI: 2.14-2.44), poison/toxic effects (PIR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.15-1.28), drowning/asphyxiations (PIR = 1.52, 95% CI: 1.33-1.74) and frostbites (PIR = 7.39, 95% CI: 6.60-8.28). The use of all-terrain vehicles or snowmobiles also resulted in significantly higher proportions of injuries (PIR = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.79-2.09).
This study contributes to the limited literature describing injuries in northern communities where the harsh physical and social climates pose additional challenges. Excesses in the proportions identified in this study could be useful in identifying strategies needed to minimize injury risks in northern communities within Canada.
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