Traffic police officers' experience of post-crash care to road traffic injury victims: a qualitative study in Tanzania

BACKGROUND: Recently, road traffic injuries (RTIs) have become a major health problem affecting health systems in many low- and middle-income countries. Regardless of whether an ambulance is available for evacuation, police officers have been shown to arrive at the crash scene first, becoming, in effect, the first responders to RTI victims. Therefore, the study aimed to explore the experiences of traffic police officers in regard to the provision of care to RTI victims in the prehospital environment, including the role of traffic police upon arriving at the crash scene, the challenges they face, and their opinions about how to improve care to RTI victims. METHOD: The study used a qualitative approach in which data were obtained from 10 individual interviews and three focus group discussions. There were 41 participants, 27 of them were male and 14 were female. About half (48.7%) of the study participants were aged between 30 to 39 years. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse all the materials. RESULTS: Three themes emerged from the analysis. The theme "Maintain safety while saving injured victims' lives and facilitating access to a health facility" was comprised of safety, sorting, initial help, and assisting access to hospital care. "Overwhelmed working with limited resources and support" included limited care and transport resources, police fatigue, and little or no support. "Improving supportive system and empowering frontline personnel" included the need for an emergency care system, availability of resources and an emergency medical support system, and training for police and drivers regarding victims' first-aid care, and road safety. CONCLUSION: The study findings characterize an environment in which the police first responders have no knowledge or skills and no equipment and supplies to provide care to RTI victims at the scene before rushing them to definitive care. The results suggest a favorable climate for training and equipping officers so that they can deliver competent postcrash care at the scene while emergency medical services are yet to be established. However, more research will be needed to determine the efficacy of such training and its acceptability in the Tanzanian context.


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  • Accession Number: 01747020
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 24 2020 2:56PM