The Millennium Development Goals have provided a focus for the global reporting of child health in recent decades1 by describing child population health using under-five year, neonatal and infant mortality…
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New Zealand is situated close to the Pacific Islands geographically and has a high Pacific population. Unfortunately, children living in these small but important Pacific nations have not received much attention in regards to their health status. In this paper, 85% of admissions to hospital in Tonga for primary school children were for injury and poisoning, non-respiratory infectious disease, respiratory conditions, abdominal/surgical conditions and dental disease. This information is helpful to inform healthcare priorities for Tonga and other similar countries.
To describe inpatient utilisation patterns for primary school aged children in Tonga.
We described admissions for children aged 5–11 years to the main hospital in Tonga from January 2009 to December 2013. Rates with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were compared using rate ratios (RR).
There were 1,816 admissions. The average annual admission rate was 20.2/1,000 (95% CI 19.3–21.1). Hospital admission rates were higher in younger than older children (5–7 versus 8–11 years, RR=1.28, 95% CI 1.18–1.41) and in boys than girls (RR=1.52, 95% CI 1.38–1.68). Injury and poisoning (28%), non-respiratory infectious diseases (19%), respiratory conditions (16%), abdominal/surgical conditions (13%) and dental (9%) were the most frequent admission reasons.
A larger proportion of younger versus older children were hospitalised for dental (16% vs 1%, P<0.001) or respiratory conditions (18% vs 14%, P=0.02). A larger proportion of older children were hospitalised for abdominal/surgical conditions (15% vs 11%, P=0.008), other infectious diseases (21% vs 17%, P=0.04), other conditions (10% vs 6%, P<0.001) and cardiac conditions (2% vs 1%, P<0.001).
In children 5–11 years in Tonga, 85% of admissions were for five groups of conditions. These data inform priority areas for healthcare spending and enable comparisons over time and between different Pacific countries.