Reducing road traffic deaths: where should we focus global health initiatives?

BACKGROUND: Current global surgery initiatives focus on increasing surgical workforce; however, it is unclear whether this approach would be helpful globally, as patients in low-resource countries may not be able to reach hospitals in a timely fashion without formal Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The authors hypothesize that increased surgical workforce correlates with decreased road traffic deaths (RTDs) only in countries with EMS. METHODS: Estimated RTDs were obtained from the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013, which estimated the RTD rate in 2010 (RTD 2010). The classification of EMS was defined by the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2009. The density of surgeons, anesthesiologists, and obstetricians (SAO density) and 2010 income classification were accessed from the World Bank. Multivariable regression analysis was performed adjusting for different countries, income levels, and trauma system characteristics. Sensitivity analysis was performed. RESULTS: One-fourth of the countries reported not having formal EMS (n = 41, 23.4%). On adjusted analysis, SAO density was not associated with changes in RTD 2010 in countries without EMS (n = 25, P = 0.50). However, in countries with EMS, each increase in SAO density per 100,000 population decreased RTDs by 0.079 per 100,000 population (n = 97, P <0.001). Income was the only other factor resulting in reduced mortality rates (P = 0.004). Sensitivity analysis confirmed these findings. CONCLUSIONS: Increases in surgical workforce reduce RTDs only when EMS exist. Surgical workforce and EMS must be seen as part of the same system and developed together to maximize their effect in reducing RTDs. Global health initiatives should be tailored to individual country need.


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  • Accession Number: 01703245
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 25 2019 2:30PM