Spectrum and cost of road traffic crashes : data from a regional South African hospital.
Road traffic crashes (RTCs) are a worldwide phenomenon, but a disproportionate number of deaths and injuries caused by RTCs occur in developing countries. A number of international organisations have drawn attention to the problem and called for a comprehensive public health response. Such a programme needs to be multi-faceted and use preventative and therapeutic strategies and also involve a wide range of stakeholders from government and civil society. In South Africa, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has the worst record for the number of deaths and injuries sustained on the roads. Despite the urgent need for such programmes in the Province there is a paucity of local research on the problem. This project sees itself as part of an ongoing systematic comprehensive quality improvement initiative. The objectives of this single-centre study are to determine common patterns of injury associated with road traffic crashes in KZN, to identify risk factors which may be targeted by specific injury prevention programmes and to establish the in-hospital cost of RTCs. This will be done by identifying a cohort of patients with injuries sustained in RTCs, gathering data on their injuries and circumstances of the crash, and costing their inpatient stay using micro-costing methods. It is hoped that this information on the burden of disease (including cost) will be incentive for investment in local healthcare and risk-reducing measures (relevant to local risk factors). The costs may also serve as a baseline for larger province-wide costing studies.
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