Road traffic injury in sub-Saharan African countries: A systematic review and summary of observational studies

Traffic Inj Prev. 2017 Oct 3;18(7):767-773. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2017.1314470. Epub 2017 Apr 27.


Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate, through a systematic review of hospital-based studies, the proportion of road traffic injuries and fatalities in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Methods: In accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology guidelines, we searched the following electronic databases: PubMed, Embase, Africa-Wide Information, Global Health, and Web of Science. Articles were eligible if they measured proportion of road traffic injuries (RTIs) in SSA by using hospital-based studies. In addition, a reference and citation analysis was conducted as well as a data quality assessment.

Results: Up to 2015, there were a total of 83 hospital-based epidemiologic studies, including 310,660 trauma patients and 99,751 RTI cases, in 13 SSA countries. The median proportion of RTIs among trauma patients was 32% (4 to 91%), of which the median proportion of death for the included articles was 5% (0.3 to 41%).

Conclusion: The number of studies evaluating RTI proportions and fatalities in SSA countries is increasing but without the exponential rise expected from World Health Organization calls for research during the Decade of Action for Road Traffic Injuries. Further research infrastructure including standardization of taxonomy, definitions, and data reporting measures, as well as funding, would allow for improved cross-country comparisons.

Keywords: Proportion; road traffic injury; sub-Saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality