Background School Area Road Safety Assessments and Improvements (SARSAI) is a community-based road traffic injury prevention program that combines minor infrastructure improvements with road safety education at primary schools. In 2015, SARSAI was implemented in 9 schools in Dar es Salaam. We report the results of a pre-intervention population-based survey conducted to establish a baseline of child road traffic injuries in communities near schools eligible for the intervention.
Methods A household census was conducted in a sample of 22 communities around schools eligible for SARSAI, including 15,480 parents or guardians of children ages 5–16. Parents or guardians were asked basic demographic information about children in the household, and if any children had been involved in a road traffic crash in the past year. If a child had been injured or killed in a crash, a detailed questionnaire was given to the parent or guardian to collect information on the circumstances of the injury, health outcomes, and long-term functional status. Data were collected over the 3 months preceding the intervention.
Results The survey identified 199 child road traffic injuries in the past year. About 83.4% of injuries required medical attention. Three injuries resulted in permanent disability, and 7 children were killed by road traffic crashes. Legs (38.2%), head (22.6%), or arms (15.6%) were the most common body areas injured. Most injuries (62.4%) occurred while walking to school and most resulted from a crash with a motorcycle (48%) or private car (24.5%).
Conclusions Road traffic injuries were a substantial problem among primary school students. Interventions, such as SARSAI, to protect children walking to school from motor vehicles have the potential to reduce injuries. A post-intervention survey conducted one year after the intervention will provide insight into the effectiveness of the SARSAI program.
- Traffic Accidents