Background: Road traffic injury remains a major source of blunt abdominal trauma
(BAT). Road traffic injury and other forms of trauma have become a major health
problem throughout the world especially in low and middle-income countries. In
a previous study (2005-2007), abdominal trauma constituted 79 (4.8%) of trauma
cases; BAT, 40 (53%) and penetrating abdominal trauma (PAT), 39 (47%). Effective
policies on road safety should be developed based on local research and not on
adapted models. We present this study to highlight the possible effect of
legislation on the ban of the use of motorcycles on blunt abdominal trauma. Methods: Patients that presented to the
University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar with
BAT from 2008-2010 were prospectively studied based on a questionnaire
following the legislation prohibiting the use of motorcycles. Results: A total of 12,083 patients
presented during the study period, trauma patients totaled 4942 (41%), of this,
48 (1%) suffered abdominal trauma: BAT 19 (40%), penetrating abdominal trauma
(PAT) 29 (60%). The age range of the patients was from 5 to 48 years (mean 26.6
years) with a M:F = 5.3:1. Road traffic accident (RTA) 17 (90%) [Motorvehicle 7
(37%), motorcycles 10 (53%)] was the commonest cause of trauma. The spleen was
the commonest injured organ 14 (74%). Conclusion: Road traffic injury constitutes a public health challenge and
the hallmark is prevention. Legislation prohibiting the use of motorcycles may
have been responsible for the reduction in BAT.
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