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Barking up the wrong tree: injuries due to falls from trees in Solomon Islands

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Tree crops form an important component of the export market of lower-income countries such as Solomon Islands.14 Specifically, up to 70% of the country’s population is directly dependent on the coconut industry for income or nutrition.5 In Solomon Islands, important tree crops that provide staple foods include the breadfruit tree, guava tree and the seasonal ngali nut tree.1,6 The proximity of the population to trees, coupled with the country’s heavy reliance on tree-based crops, ensures that injuries from interactions with trees form a considerable health care burden within the country.

Indeed, what little prior research exists has indicated that hospital presentations due to tree-related injuries are common within countries heavily reliant on tree-based crops. Barss and colleagues found that in Papua New Guinea, falls from trees accounted for up to 27% of admissions to trauma wards.7 It is apparent that tree injuries place a significant burden on the health care sector, particularly with respect to injuries sustained by younger people.8 This study uses 18 years of data from the National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara, Solomon Islands, to investigate tree-related injuries…