BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Road traffic accidents (RTAs) are a major source of illness and mortality, particularly among persons under the age of 40. In low and medium income countries (LMIC), three victims suffer lifelong impairment for every RTA-related fatality, and many more dependants of these fatalities suffer socioeconomically. Adogu, Llika, and Asuzu (2011) Furthermore, research and data on the occurrence and management of RTAs in Ghana are not easily available, as shown by significant difficulties in obtaining such data by the investigator. Road traffic accidents are expected to be the third leading cause of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost globally by 2020. Frenk and Gómez-Dantés (2011) (Lozano. 2013).
RTAs in lower and middle income countries (LMIC) account for more than 85 percent of all road traffic deaths worldwide, despite the fact that high income nations have more automobiles and motorbikes (HIC). This tendency is continuing to rise (World Health Organization, 2018). The continuous growth in personal vehicle ownership and use in LMICs is expected to result in an 80 percent increase in injury and death rates between 2000 and 2020. (Lozano. 2013). To make matters worse, RTA casualties are not adequately managed in LMICs, despite the fact that such nations appear to spend a lot of money on RTA prevention and management. The WHO Status Report on Road Safety in African Countries contrasted high income countries (HICs) and low income countries (LMICs), and discovered that LMICs spend a larger percentage of their GDP on healthcare (including trauma treatment) than HICs. This puts further burden on their budgets, making them poorer (World Health Organisation, 2018).
Ghana, like other LMICs, is dealing with the consequences of RTAs in terms of death, morbidity, disability, and economic losses. Three major reasons contribute to the high prevalence of RTAs. To begin, there are road and environmental variables to consider, such as the motorable status of the roads, the existence or lack of functional street lights, suitable road markings, the availability of road signs, weather conditions, and visibility. Second, there are vehicular considerations to consider. These include whether or not vehicles are roadworthy, as well as the existence or lack of safety measures like seat belts in automobiles. Third, human or driving variables are taken into account. This includes appropriate licensing of competent drivers, as well as frequent monitoring and checks to guarantee strict compliance with traffic rules, as well as education and preventative initiatives to avoid or minimize the severity of road traffic accidents (Constant & Lagarde, 2010).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Ghana is now seeing increased socioeconomic growth, as well as a rise in rural-urban migration. As a result, a rising number of individuals are traveling between cities and towns for business, education, pleasure, and social purposes. This scenario, along with the recent unauthorized usage of motorcycles for commercial taxis, has resulted in a rise in the number of RTAs and the susceptibility of road users to them. Road traffic accidents place a strain on already underfunded and overburdened health-care systems. It also results in a loss of income for the victims and their families. Furthermore, a substantial number of Ghanaians work in the informal sector, earning daily salaries and paying for healthcare out of pocket. Those covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) are not fully reimbursed for all hospital expenses incurred as a result of trauma care. The loss of human lives, health, productivity, and money as a result of road traffic accidents has a significant impact on the budgets of most LMICs, including Ghana. (Hesse & Ofosu 2014) (Chalya et al., 2010), The health and socioeconomic burden of RTAs in Ghana could be reduced through primary preventive measures, such as those implemented by the National Commission on Road Safety Commission of Ghana (National Road Safety Commission of Ghana. 2011), as well as secondary prevention. Secondary prevention entails the proper medical care of casualties following an accident in order to decrease morbidity and death. Emergency care for RTA victims, particularly during the first forty-eight (48) hours, has been proven to have a significant influence on decreasing morbidity, death, and economic costs to the person and the state (Liberman and Roudsari, 2010).
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The primary aim of this study is to investigate the injury patterns and emergency care in road traffic accidents in Accra. Thus, the following questions;
1. To investigate how often road accidents occur.
2. To determine the demographics of the victims usually involved in such accidents.
3. To investigate what sort of emergency care is provided to accident victims.
The following questions guide this study;
1. How often do road accidents occur?
2. What are the demographics of the victims usually involved in such accidents?
3. What sort of emergency care is provided to accident victims?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be significant as it will bring to the fore an awareness on injury patterns and the kind of emergency care which is provided to accident victims. It will assist the government in making policies to put emergency health care services on various roads in order to tender to accident victims in the case of any accidents.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will only cover injury patterns and emergency care in road traffic accidents in Accra, Ghana. The sort of injuries and the care provided for victims will also be looked into. Hence, selected Government owned hospitals in Accra, Ghana will serve as participants for this study.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study was limited as a result of financial and time constraints faced by the researcher.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
1. EMERGENCY CARE: The management for an illness or injury which results in symptoms which occur suddenly and unexpectedly, and requires immediate care by a medical practitioner to prevent death or serious long term impairment of the person’s health.
2. INJURY: Simply refers to damage to an individual, physically.
3. ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS: A road traffic accident (RTA) is any injury due to crashes originating from, terminating with or involving a vehicle partially or fully on a public road.