Background It has been recommended that the newly motorizing countries establish road injury surveillance to define the burden, identify high risk groups, plan intervention and monitor their impact. Despite its stated importance in the literature, very few examples of sustained surveillance systems are reported from low income countries. We present the results of an urban road injury surveillance program that has been running for the past 8 years in the emergency departments of five major hospitals in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods We describe the process of establishing the road injury surveillance system incorporating a multi-institution research group including physicians and transportation engineers. Data was collected from 5 hospitals with details of the injury, severity scoring and information of the circumstances of the crash. Crash site visits supplemented this data and the results were disseminated to municipal authorities along with low cost engineering solutions to rectify hazards in the road network. The impact of these interventions were monitored in the surveillance.
Results In the 8 years between 2007 and 2014, 262,269 road injury victims were registered. Though 76% of the injuries were categorised as “minor”, 20% led to hospital admission and in 3% deaths occurred. The information on location of crashes and site visits led to an extensive catalogue of road network hazards and their rectification led to demonstrated reductions in crash frequency. Data was also used for safety advocacy in groups found to be vulnerable in the surveillance, such as motorcyclists, road sweepers and school going pedestrians.
Conclusions We demonstrate that a functional road injury surveillance program can be established and effectively managed in a developing country. The data collected and analysed from the victim’s perspective can be a potent tool for effecting safety education and hazard rectification.
- Road traffic injury
- developing country
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