While it’s well-known that road traffic injuries (RTIs) are one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide, estimates on the burden of injury in specific countries, especially those in the developing world, are often inaccurate or insufficient.  This is true in Kenya, where estimates quantifying the burden of road traffic injuries exist, but are more than 10 years old, making it difficult to demonstrate the magnitude of the problem to decision-makers in the country. What’s more, as countries like Kenya develop, the number of vehicles increase with the enhancement of road infrastructure. This increase often leads to higher rates of speed which then leads to more RTIs.

In the paper “Road Traffic Injuries in Kenya: The Health Burden and Risk Factors in Two Districts,” members of the JH-IIRU team, including associate directors Abdulgafoor M. Bachani and Kent Stevens, as well as Hadley Herbert, along with colleagues from the Department of Public Health at Kenyatta University in Nairobi and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation aim to address this issue.

The goal of the paper was to assess the current status of RTIs in Kenya using police and vital registration records. The team also conducted observational studies of three risk factors—speeding, helmet use and reflective clothing use—in two districts, Naivasha and Thika.

The assessment revealed that the burden of RTIs continues to increase, highlighting the necessity of a renewed effort to address this burden with a focus on incr
easing helmet and reflective clothing use, while enforcing speed limits.

As part of the Road Safety in 10 Countries project (RS-10), in 2012, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) published “Public Health Burden of Road Traffic Injuries: An Assessment from Ten Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” a special issue of Traffic Injury Prevention. This landmark publication includes 11 scientific papers jointly authored with 50 colleagues from JH-IIRU and their in-country collaborators that contribute much-needed new knowledge to the burgeoning issue of road traffic injuries in low- and middle- income countries.

You can access the full article along with the entire special issue here.

To find out more about JH-IIRU and road safety, contact us at IIRU@JHSPH.edu