Burden of Road Traffic Injuries in Tanzania: One-Year Prospective Study of Consecutive Patients in 13 Multilevel Health Facilities

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Burden of Road Traffic Injuries in Tanzania: One-Year Prospective Study of Consecutive Patients in 13 Multilevel Health Facilities


JournalEmergency Medicine International
Article typeJournal research article – Clinical research
Publication date – Nov – 2021
Authors – Hendry R. Sawe, Sveta Milusheva, Kevin Croke, Saahil Karpe, Meyhar Mohammed, Juma A. Mfinanga
Keywordshealth facilities, road traffic injuries, Tanzania, Trauma registry
Open access – Yes
SpecialityEmergency surgery, Trauma surgery
World region Eastern Africa
Country: Tanzania
Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on November 16, 2021 at 3:14 am
Abstract:

Background. Road traffic injuries (RTIs) pose a severe public health crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and specifically in Tanzania, where the mortality due to RTIs is nearly double the global rate. There is a paucity of RTI data in Tanzania to inform evidence-based interventions to reduce the incidence and improve care outcomes. A trauma registry was implemented at 13 health facilities of diverse administrative levels in Tanzania. In this study, we characterize the burden of RTIs seen at these health facilities. Methods. This was a one-year prospective descriptive study utilizing trauma registry data from 13 multilevel health facilities in Tanzania from 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020. We provide descriptive statistics on patient demographics; location; share of injury; nature, type, and circumstances of RTI; injury severity; disposition; and outcomes. Results. Among 18,553 trauma patients seen in 13 health facilities, 7,416 (40%) had RTIs. The overall median age was 28 years (IQR 22–38 years), and 79.3% were male. Most road traffic crashes (RTC) occurred in urban settings (68.7%), involving motorcycles (68.3%). Motorcyclists (32.9%) were the most affected road users; only 37% of motorcyclists wore helmets at the time of the crash. The majority (88.2%) of patients arrived directly from the site, and 49.0% used motorized (two- or three-) wheelers to travel to the health facility. Patients were more likely to be admitted to the ward, taken to operating theatre, died at emergency unit (EU), or referred versus being discharged if they had intracranial injuries (27.8% vs. 3.7%; ), fracture of the lower leg (18.9% vs. 6.4%; ), or femur fracture (12.9% vs. 0.4%; ). Overall, 36.1% of patients were admitted, 10.6% transferred to other facilities, and mortality was 2%. Conclusions. RTCs are the main cause of trauma in this setting, affecting mostly working-age males. These RTCs result in severe injuries requiring hospital admission or referral for almost half of the victims. Motorcyclists are the most affected group, in alignment with prior studies. These findings demonstrate the burden of RTCs as a public health concern in Tanzania and the need for targeted interventions with a focus on motorcyclists.

OSI Number – 21345

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