Impact of the 2011 Libyan conflict on road traffic injuries in Benghazi, Libya
Background: Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are a major public health concern in Libya. In the light of the armed conflict in Libya that broke out on February 2011 and the subsequent instability, the rate and pattern of RTIs was studied.
Methods: RTI patient data were gathered from Al-Jalaa hospital, the main trauma center in Benghazi, from 2010 to 2011. Various parameters [i.e. age, gender, nationality, method of entry, receiving department, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, duration of stay, method of discharge, and fatalities] were compared with data from the previous year (2010), and statistical analyses were performed (t-test, chi-square, and Poisson regression).
Results: During the conflict period, 15.8% (n=2,221) of hospital admissions were RTIs, that is, a rate of 6.08 RTI cases per day, levels not seen for 5 years (t=-5.719, p<B0.001). The presence of armed conflict was found to have caused a significant 28% decrease in the trend of RTIs over the previous 10 years (B=-0.327, CI=-0.38- -0.28, p<0.001). February and March, the peak period of active combat in Benghazi, witnessed the lowest number of RTIs during the conflict period. The average age of an RTI decreased to 28.35+16.3 years (t=-7.257, pB0.001) with significantly more males (84.1%, n=1,755) being affected (x2=4.595, p=0.032, df=1). There was an increase in the proportion of younger aged patients (from 0 to 29 years) (x2=29.874, p<0.001, df=8). More patients required admission to the ICU (x2=36.808, p<0.001, df=8), and the mortality of an RTI increased to 5.2% (n116) (x2=48.882, p<0.001, df=6).
Conclusions: There were fewer RTIs during the conflict period; however, those that occurred had higher morbidity and mortality. The profile of an RTI victims also changed to an increased prominence of young males and motorcyclists. Further research is required to propose and analyze possible interventions.
Keywords: road traffic accidents; road traffic injuries; motor vehicle; trauma; armed conflict; mortality; morbidity; Benghazi; Libya