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Socioeconomic impact of road traffic injuries in West Africa: exploratory data from Nigeria


Background Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are increasingly contributing to the burden of disease in sub-Saharan Africa, yet little is known about the economic consequences and disability associated with them.

Objective To explore cost and disability consequences of RTIs in Nigeria.

Design A population-based survey using two-stage stratified cluster sampling.

Subject/setting Information on care-seeking choice, cost of treatment, ability to work, reduction in earnings, and disability were collected on 127 subjects who had suffered an RTI, of 3082 study subjects in seven Nigerian states.

Outcome measures Univariate analysis was used to estimate frequency of disability, types of care sought, and trends for work lost, functional ability and cost of treatment. Unadjusted bivariate analysis was performed to explore care-seeking, cost of care, and work lost among disabled and non-disabled people.

Results RTIs resulted in disability for 29.1% of subjects, while 13.5% were unable to return to work. Of the disabled people, 67.6% were unable to perform activities of daily living, 16.7% consequently lost their jobs, and 88.6% had a reduction in earnings. Private physician and hospital treatment were the most common forms of initial treatment sought, but traditional treatment was the most common second form of care sought. Average direct costs of informal and formal treatment were US$6.65 and US$35.64, respectively. Disabled people were more likely to seek formal care (p=0.003) and be unable to work (p=0.002).

Conclusions Economic and functional ramifications must be included in the spectrum of consequences of RTIs to fully appreciate the extent of the burden of disease, implying that health systems should not only address the clinical consequences of RTIs, but the financial ones as well.

  • Road traffic injury
  • disability
  • community-based survey
  • Africa
  • developing nations
  • MVTC
  • socio economic status

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