Road traffic accident and its financial consequences in Ablekuma Sub-Metro of Accra

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Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) in Ghana, as in the case of other developing countries, are on an alarming increase and pose a major loss to society. There is no doubt that RTAs, whether fatal or not, cause socio-economic burden to the victims themselves, their families and the country. A descriptive study was conducted in Ablekuma sub-metro of Accra, from July 2002 to October 2002 to examine the financial consequences of RTAs. Sixty accident victims and their caretakers (one per victim) were sampled purposively from the Accident Centre of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and the community. Fifty drivers were also sampled using cluster sampling from drivers’ unions in the study area. Seven insurance companies were sampled systematically. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and fed into a computer using the EPI INFO 6 for data analysis. Questionnaire administration, interviews and observation were the techniques employed in data collection and the tools used were questionnaires, interview guide, checklist and camera. The results of the study indicated that road user errors, vehicular defects and poor roads were the main factors responsible for RTAs. 4 people on the average were killed every month in RTAs in Ablekuma sub-metro. The findings showed that 5% of accident victims were maimed. Mean length of stay in hospital was 3.19 weeks and mean length of disability was 4.05 weeks. Mean man-hours of 3.76 per day were spent by caretakers to care for victims. Cost incurred by health facility in treating a victim on the average was 3 million cedis and victims’ out of pocket expenses ranged between one hundred and twenty thousand cedis (¢120,000.00) and five million two hundred thousand cedis (¢5,200,000.00). The findings further showed that those in their productive years constituted the highest proportion of accident victims. This means that RTAs had a telling effect on the overall national economic performance. It is therefore concluded that RTAs were a major public health problem in Ablekuma sub-metro of Accra. Such accidents lead to huge financial loss to individuals, families and the nation. The following recommendations would help to minimize the magnitude of RTAs and their adverse financial consequences in Ablekuma sub-metro and Ghana as a whole: 1. Integration of Road Safety into the school curriculum at different educational levels. 2. Traffic laws should be strictly enforced. 3. Ambulance services should be provided at RTAs scenes and prompt referral made under competent experts. 4. Speed limits should be strictly monitored using sensitive modem equipment. 5. There should be more intensive public education of road users-drivers and pedestrians. 6. There should be improvement of road design with enhanced safety features.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of in Health Services Planning and Management, 2002