Background: Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are a major cause of death and disability worldwide. In Cameroon, like the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, more data on RTI patterns and outcomes are needed to improve treatment and prevention. This study analyses RTIs seen in the emergency room of the busiest trauma centre in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Methods: A prospective injury surveillance study was conducted in the emergency room of the Central Hospital of Yaoundé from April 15 to October 15, 2009. RTI patterns and relationships among demographic variables, road collision characteristics, injury severity, and outcomes were identified.
Results: A total of 1686 RTI victims were enrolled. The mean age was 31 years, and 73% were male. Eighty-eight percent of road collisions occurred on paved roads. The most common user categories were 'pedestrian' (34%) and 'motorcyclist' (29%). Pedestrians were more likely to be female (p<0.001), while motorcyclists were more likely to be male (p<0.001). Injuries most commonly involved the pelvis and extremities (43%). Motorcyclists were more likely than other road users to have serious injuries (RR=1.45; 95% CI: 1.25, 1.68). RTI victims of lower economic status were more likely to die than those of higher economic status.
Discussion: Vulnerable road users represent the majority of RTI victims in this surveillance study. The burden of RTI on hospitals in Cameroon is high and likely to increase. Data on RTI victims who present to trauma centres in low- and middle-income countries are essential to improving treatment and prevention.
Keywords: Low-middle lncome country; Motorcyclist; Pedestrian; Surveillance road traffic Injury; Trauma systems.
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