An Exploratory Qualitative Study of the Prevention of Road Trac Collisions and Neurotrauma in India: Perspectives From Key Informants in an Indian Industrial City (Visakhapatnam)

Background: Despite current preventative strategies, road traffic collisions (RTCs) and resultant neurotrauma remain a major problem in India. This study seeks to explore local perspectives in the context within which RTCs take place and identify potential suggestions for improving the current status.

Methods: Ten semi-structured interviews were carried out with purposively selected key informants from the city of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Participants were from one of the following categories: commissioning stakeholders; service providers; community or local patient group/advocacy group representatives. Transcripts from these interviews were analysed qualitatively using the Framework Method.

Results: Participants felt RTCs are a serious problem in India and a leading cause of neurotrauma. Major risk factors identified related to user behaviour such as speeding and not using personal safety equipment, and the user state, namely drink driving and underage driving. Other reported risk factors included poor infrastructure, moving obstacles on the road, overloaded vehicles and substandard safety equipment. Participants discussed how RTCs affect not only the health of the victim, but are also a burden to the healthcare system, families, and the national economy. Although there are ongoing preventative strategies being carried out by both the government and the community, challenges to successful prevention emerged from the interviews which included resource deficiencies, inconsistent implementation, lack of appropriate action, poor governance, lack of knowledge and the mindset of the community and entities involved in prevention. Recommendations were given on how prevention of RTCs and neurotrauma might be improved, addressing the areas of education and awareness, research, the pre-hospital and trauma systems, enforcement and legislation, and road engineering, in addition to building collaborations and changing mindsets.

Conclusions: RTCs remain a major problem in India and a significant cause of neurotrauma. Addressing the identified gaps and shortfalls in current approaches and reinforcing collective responsibility towards road safety would be the way forward in improving prevention and reducing the burden.

Mapping Global Evidence on Strategies and Interventions in Neurotrauma and Road Traffic Collisions Prevention: A Scoping Review

Neurotrauma is an important global health problem. The largest cause of neurotrauma worldwide is road traffic collisions (RTCs), particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Neurotrauma and RTCs are preventable, and many preventative interventions have been implemented over the last decades, especially in high-income countries (HICs). However, it is uncertain if these strategies are applicable globally due to variations in environment, resources, population, culture and infrastructure. Given this issue, this scoping review aims to identify, quantify and describe the evidence on approaches in neurotrauma and RTCs prevention, and ascertain contextual factors that influence their implementation in LMICs and HICs.

A systematic search was conducted using five electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Global Health on EBSCO host, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews), grey literature databases, government and non-government websites, as well as bibliographic and citation searching of selected articles. The extracted data were presented using figures, tables, and accompanying narrative summaries. The results of this review were reported using the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR).

A total of 411 publications met the inclusion criteria, including 349 primary studies and 62 reviews. More than 80% of the primary studies were from HICs and described all levels of neurotrauma prevention. Only 65 papers came from LMICs, which mostly described primary prevention, focussing on road safety. For the reviews, 41 papers (66.1%) reviewed primary, 18 tertiary (29.1%), and three secondary preventative approaches. Most of the primary papers in the reviews came from HICs (67.7%) with 5 reviews on only LMIC papers. Fifteen reviews (24.1%) included papers from both HICs and LMICs. Intervention settings ranged from nationwide to community-based but were not reported in 44 papers (10.8%), most of which were reviews. Contextual factors were described in 62 papers and varied depending on the interventions.

There is a large quantity of global evidence on strategies and interventions for neurotrauma and RTCs prevention. However, fewer papers were from LMICs, especially on secondary and tertiary prevention. More primary research needs to be done in these countries to determine what strategies and interventions exist and the applicability of HIC interventions in LMICs.