A descriptive epidemiological study of road traffic accidents in lusaka (October 1996-January 1997)
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Justification of the Study: Road traffic accidents are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Zambia. Objective: The objective of this study was to identify major risk factors in road traffic accidents in Lusaka in the last three months of 1996. Study Design. The study was conducted in two stages:- (i) Stage one was the main study that was conducted between October 12th, 1996 and January 11th, 1997 at the University Teaching Hospital. (ii) In stage two the records from Road Safety Council, Zambia State Insurance Corporation, Meteorological Department and Zambia Police Service were analysed to collect necessary information about road traffic accidents. This was supplemented by conducting interviews with key persons from the above mentioned institutions. Setting. Data was collected by administering a questionnaire to patients at the casualty and surgical wards of the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka. Subjects. A total of 385 patients were interviewed and questioned after getting permission from authorised personnel. Results: There were 385 victims admitted in this time who met the criteria of the investigation. Data was obtained on 371. Most accidents occured in 21-30 age group for both males and females as shown in Table 2. Younger people were more prone to road traffic accidents than older group. There was an increase of road traffic accidents on Fridays and on weekends, especially Saturdays. This increase was also observed from Mondays to Wednesdays as shown in Figure 5. Twenty-four hour VI time frequency (Figure 6) shows majority of accidents occured between 15.00 hours and 18.00 hours. Table 7 shows a clear role of high excess speed in road traffic accidents. Influence of alcohol and bad roads were some of the other causes of road traffic accidents. The majority of accidents could have been avoided. (Table 8). In three months 1,097 accidents took place in Lusaka, involving nearly 2000 victims, of which 334 were injured. Of the injured victims 143 (42.8 percent) had slight injuries, 134 (40.1 percent) had serious injuries and 57 (17.1 percent) died on the spot. (Table 9). Mortality among those driving cars was higher than other categories of drivers. Conclusion: There are multiple factors responsible for road traffic accidents. This study confirms some of the known risk factors. Even though road traffic accidents inflict pain and misery on many lives and are responsible for property damage and loss, little has been done by the government or authorities concerned. The country as a whole has yet to compile accurate statistics on road traffic accidents.
- Medicine