Prehospital trauma care systems: potential role toward reducing morbidities and mortalities from road traffic injuries in Nigeria

Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012 Dec;27(6):536-42. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X12001379. Epub 2012 Oct 2.


Introduction: Road traffic injuries (RTIs) and attendant fatalities on Nigerian roads have been on an increasing trend over the past three decades. Mortality from RTIs in Nigeria is estimated to be 162 deaths/100,000 population. This study aims to compare and identify best prehospital trauma care practices in Nigeria and some other African countries where prehospital services operate.

Methods: A review of secondary data, grey literature, and pertinent published articles using a conceptual framework to assess: (1) policies; (2) structures; (3) first responders; (4) communication facilities; (5) transport and ambulance facilities, and (6) roadside emergency trauma units.

Results: There is no national prehospital trauma care system (PTCS) in Nigeria. The lack of a national emergency health policy is a factor in this absence. The Nigerian Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) mainly has been responsible for prehospital services. South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, and Ghana have improved prehospital services in Africa.

Conclusions: Commercial drivers, laypersons, military, police, a centrally controlled communication network, and government ambulance services are feasible delivery models that can be incorporated into the Nigerian prehospital system. Prehospital trauma services have been useful in reducing morbidities and mortalities from traffic injuries, and appropriate implementation of this study's recommendations may reduce this burden in Nigeria.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic* / mortality
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Responders
  • Humans
  • Morbidity
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*