The scourge of head injury among commercial motorcycle riders in Kampala; a preventable clinical and public health menace
Background: Trauma is an increasingly important cause of disease globally. Half of this trauma is from road traffic injuries with motorcycles contributing 21-58%. Low protective gear use, lack of regulation and weak traffic law enforcement contribute to unsafe nature of commercial motorcycles also known as “boda boda” in Uganda.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of protective gear use, the occurrence of head injury and the relationship between the two among commercial motorcycle riders in Kampala.
Methods: Following ethical approval we recruited consecutive consenting participants to this analytical cross-sectional study. Data was collected using pretested interviewer administered questionnaires, double entered in Epidata and analyzed with STATA. Proportions and means were used to summarize data. Odds ratios were calculated for association between wearing helmets and occurrence and severity of head injury.
Results: All 328 participants recruited were male. Of these, 18.6% used Protective gear and 71.1 % sustained head injury. Helmets protected users from head injury (OR 0.43, 95% CI, 0.23-0.8) and significantly reduced its severity when it occurred.
Conclusion: Protective gear use was low, with high occurrence of head injury among commercial motorcycle riders in Uganda. More effective strategies are needed to promote protective gear use among Uganda’s commercial motorcycle riders.
Keywords: Boda-boda, okada, commercial motorcycle, head injury, protective gear, helmet, Mulago hospital.
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