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

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.

Vision impairment and traffic safety outcomes in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Road traffic injuries are a major public health concern and their prevention requires concerted efforts. We aimed to systematically analyse the current evidence to establish whether any aspects of vision, and particularly interventions to improve vision function, are associated with traffic safety outcomes in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).

We did a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the association between poor vision and traffic safety outcomes. We searched MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials in the Cochrane Library from database inception to April 2, 2020. We included any interventional or observational studies assessing whether vision is associated with traffic safety outcomes, studies describing prevalence of poor vision among drivers, and adherence to licensure regulations. We excluded studies done in high-income countries. We did a meta-analysis to explore the associations between vision function and traffic safety outcomes and a narrative synthesis to describe the prevalence of vision disorders and adherence to licensure requirements. We used random-effects models with residual maximum likelihood method. The systematic review protocol was registered on PROSPERO, CRD-42020180505.

We identified 49 (1·8%) eligible articles of 2653 assessed and included 29 (59·2%) in the various data syntheses. 15 394 participants (mean sample size n=530 [SD 824]; mean age of 39·3 years [SD 9·65]; 1167 [7·6%] of 15 279 female) were included. The prevalence of vision impairment among road users ranged from 1·2% to 26·4% (26 studies), colour vision defects from 0·5% to 17·1% (15 studies), and visual field defects from 2·0% to 37·3% (ten studies). A substantial proportion (range 10·6–85·4%) received licences without undergoing mandatory vision testing. The meta-analysis revealed a 46% greater risk of having a road traffic crash among those with central acuity visual impairment (risk ratio [RR] 1·46 [95% CI 1·20–1·78]; p=0·0002, 13 studies) and a greater risk among those with defects in colour vision (RR 1·36 [1·01–1·82]; p=0·041, seven studies) or the visual field (RR 1·36 [1·25–1·48]; p<0·0001, seven studies). The I2 value for overall statistical heterogeneity was 63·4%.

This systematic review shows a positive association between vision impairment and traffic crashes in LMICs. Our findings provide support for mandatory vision function assessment before issuing a driving licence.

Association between alcohol consumption, marijuana use and road traffic injuries among commercial motorcycle riders: A population-based, case-control study in Dares Salaam, Tanzania

Alcohol consumption and psychoactive drug use are well-recognised risk factors for road traffic injuries (RTIs). Both types of use may impair and affect drivers’ performance. Yet, there is limited literature on their contribution to RTIs among commercial motorcycle riders, particularly in low- and middle-income settings. This study aimed to determine the association between alcohol consumption, marijuana use and RTIs among commercial motorcycle riders in the city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

We conducted a case-control study between July 2018 and March 2019. Cases (n = 164) were commercial motorcycle riders who had sustained an RTIs and attended at a hospital. Controls (n = 400) were commercial motorcycle riders who had not experienced an RTIs that led to hospital attendance during the past six months. Alcohol consumption was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification (AUDIT) score, which classified participants as a non-drinker, normal drinker(1–7 scores) and risky drinker (scores ≥ 8). Marijuana use was assessed through self-reported use in the past year. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) using logistic regression adjusted for sociodemographic, driver-, and work-related factors.

Risky drinking was associated with close to six times the odds of RTIs compared to non-drinkers (OR = 5.98, 95% CI: 3.25 – 11.0). The association remained significant even after adjusting for sociodemographic, driving and work-related factors (OR = 2.41, 95% CI: 1.01 – 5.76). The crude odds ratios of RTIs were significantly higher among users of marijuana than non-users (OR = 2.33, 95% CI: 1.38 – 3.95). However, the association did not remain statistically significant after adjusting for confounders (OR = 1.11, 95% CI = 0.49–2.48).

Our findings confirm increased odds of RTIs among commercial motorcycle riders with risky drinking behaviour even after taking sociodemographic, driving and work-related factors into account. Unlike alcohol consumption the relationship between marijuana use and RTIs among commercial motorcycle riders was unclear. Since motorcycle riders are more susceptible to the effect of alcohol due to higher demands of balance and coordination and because commercial motorcyclist riders, in particular, they spend a considerable amount of time on the road, our results underscore the importance of addressing hazardous alcohol consumption and marijuana use in future prevention strategies to enhance road safety.

Developing a National Integrated Road Traffic Injury Registry System: A Conceptual Model for a Multidisciplinary Setting

Introduction: Despite a high burden of traffic injuries, effective integrated or linked injury surveillance systems are rarely available in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The aim of the current study was to define a conceptual model for developing a national integrated traffic injury registry in Iran.
Methods: A mult-method study financially and technically supported by the World Health Organization, Iranian Ministry of Health, Iranian Traffic Police, and the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization was conducted. A theoretical framework, forming the core conceptual components, was developed based on expert reviews. The preliminary conceptual model was developed by a panel of experts and tailored through a national workshop of 50 scientists, authorities and experts from nearly all sectors related to road safety promotion and injury management. It was then sent out to external reviewers in order to assess and improve the content validity of the model.
Results: The conceptual model was developed to have six components. These included 1) aims and core definitions; 2) content and core measurements; 3) data flow; 4) data collection routines; 5) organizational matrix; 6) implementation organization. The Haddon’s matrix was adapted to be used as the theoretical framework in defining the content and data flow components of IRTIR. Five subcomponents were defined in the content and core measurements component with each having several subcategories. Each subcomponent/subcategory was finally divided into several item groups to guide defining the final data measurement variables. The data flow component was defined with six data sequence stations. Through the organizational matrix component, five major organizations relevant to road traffic safety were defined as core data production contributors. Some organizations also owned several sub-organizations which contributed in this regard.
Conclusion: It is concluded that the IRTIR conceptual model includes the required six components for developing a national integrated registry for Iran. Its main component called, content and core measurements, leads the researchers in developing final data collection tools in developing the national registry of road traffic injuries in Iran.