Road traffic accidents (RTAs) are a major cause of death and disability worldwide, and more than 90% of road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, according to the WHO. In Zanzibar we see many cases of injury following RTA at both of our hospitals, largely due to lack of road safety awareness, excessive speeding and poor road conditions.
Last week at Kivunge Hospital we received three female patients who had been involved in an accident. Luckily in this case there were no fatalities. On arrival they were all clinically stable but complaining of pain and bruising of various body parts, so were admitted to the ward for further investigation. X rays were done and revealed that one woman had a nasty fracture of her clavicle (collarbone) and another had an uncomplicated ankle fracture.
At Kivunge we are able to manage simple fractures (not requiring surgery) with plaster casts, so the patient with the ankle fracture was able to stay for her treatment. We helped one of the doctors to apply a plaster cast to immobilise the ankle so that the fracture can heal. Unfortunately, more complicated fractures (such as the other woman’s clavicle) may require surgical treatment so have to be referred to Mnzai Moja Hospital in town.
We are working with the local staff to improve the management of all emergency presentations, including trauma, to hopefully improve survival and reduce disability after road traffic accidents.