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The economic burden of road traffic injuries: evidence from a provincial general hospital in Vietnam
  1. Ha Nguyen1,2,
  2. Rebecca Q Ivers1,
  3. Stephen Jan1,
  4. Alexandra L C Martiniuk1,3,
  5. Qiang Li1,
  6. Cuong Pham2
  1. 1The George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2The Center for Injury Policy and Prevention Research, Hanoi School of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam
  3. 3Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Rebecca Q Ivers, Injury Division, The George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney, PO Box M201, Missenden Rd, NSW 2050, Australia; rivers{at}


Objective To examine the costs of road traffic injuries (RTIs) in Vietnam and factors associated with increased costs.

Method RTI data were collected in a prospective cohort study on the impact of injuries in Vietnam. Participants were persons admitted to the Thai Binh General Hospital because of RTI. All costs incurred by participants and their family members during hospitalisation were collected, including direct medical costs, direct non-medical costs and indirect costs. Generalised linear models were employed to examine predictors of increased costs including demographic and injury context characteristics.

Results Each RTI hospitalisation costs the patient and family on average US$363 or 6 months of average salary. Income, injury severity, principal region of injury and length of hospital stay were statistically significant predictors of increased costs; age, gender, occupation and road user group were not. After controlling for injury characteristics and income, participants with principal injuries to the lower extremities had a cost 1.28 (95% CI 1.07 to 1.54) times higher than those with principal injuries to the face. Analyses of motorcycle-related RTIs with principal injury to the head also showed increased costs among those without a helmet (1.41 times higher, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.71).

Conclusions RTIs can cause a substantial economic burden to the patient and family. During hospitalisation on average, an RTI would cost approximately 6 months of salary. In addition to interventions to decrease the risk of RTIs, those reducing the severity, such as wearing a motorcycle helmet, should be enforced to minimise the economic and health consequences of injury.

  • Road traffic injuries
  • cost of injuries
  • economic burden
  • cost of hospitalisation
  • Vietnam
  • outcome of injury
  • costs
  • disability
  • health disparities

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  • Funding The study was funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, and HN was supported on an international student scholarship by the University of Sydney. RQI and SJ were funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. ALCM was funded in part by an unrestricted educational Fellowship from Merck Inc in 2011. CP was funded in part by Atlantic Philanthropies.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Human Ethics Committee in University of Sydney, Australia, and the Hanoi School of Public Health Ethics Committee in Vietnam.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data used in this study are a component of a larger cohort study which includes hospitalisation and 1-year follow-up data on costs and quality of life of participants. Further analyses and publications will be developed by authors.