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Characteristics and injury patterns of road traffic injuries in urban and rural Uganda—a retrospective medical record review study in two hospitals
Reference: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2021) 18: 7663

In the ongoing Second Decade of Action for Road Safety, road traffic crashes pose a considerable threat especially in low-income countries. Uganda shows a vast burden of non-fatal injuries and resides at the top range of countries with the highest death rates due to unsafe roads. However, little is known about the differences in road traffic associated injuries between urban and rural areas and potential influence factors. Here, we used a cross-sectional study conducted by a retrospective medical record review from trauma cases admitted in 2016 to hospitals in rural and urban areas in Uganda. Injury severity scores were calculated and descriptive analysis was carried out while multivariate logistic regression was applied to assess significant covariates. According to the 1683 medical records reviewed, the mean age of trauma patients in the dataset under investigation was 30.8 years with 74% male. The trauma in-hospital mortality was 4% while prevalence of traumatic injuries is 56.4%. Motorcycle users (49.6%) and pedestrians (33.7%) were identified as the most vulnerable groups in both urban and rural setting while mild injuries of extremities (61.6%) and the head/neck-region (42.0%) were registered most. The frequency of road traffic injuries was homogenous in the urban and rural hospitals investigated in this study; interventions should therefore be intensified ubiquitously. The identification of significant differences in road traffic crash and injury characteristics provides the opportunity for specific programmes to decrease the socio-economic and health burden of unsafe roads. In addition to law enforcement and introduction of a Systems Thinking approach to road safety including infrastructural and educational concepts, the strengthening of trauma care and health resources is recommended.

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Published By
Temizel S., Wunderlich R., Mats LEIFELS