Reducing road traffic injuries through a community-based road safety initiative in Guimaras, Philippines
Road traffic injuries are major cause of mortality and morbidity in the Province of Guimaras in Philippines. Local hospital data indicate 9 deaths and 876 cases, comprising 66% of total injury cases, in 2009. The numbers are likely underestimated, since local data do not include the individuals brought directly to hospitals in nearby Iloilo City and those not given medical attention.
Background of the project
In 2010, a community-based road safety project was implemented by the Guimaras Provincial Health Office, in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH) and World Health Organization Office, to reduce the number of road traffic injuries in the locality.
Project strategies and methods
The project strategies consisted of the following:
- advocacy to local government units;
- building local partnerships on road safety;
- generating evidence on the prevalence of the risk factors of road traffic injuries;
- developing road safety action plan on road safety with key stakeholders;
- developing and enforcing relevant local policies;
- training local stakeholders on road safety management and implementation;
- training on injury surveillance;
- community health education campaigns; and
- sustaining intersectoral actions for road safety.
Breath analyzers were procured, and police officers as well as public health and hospital doctors were trained on how to use tnem. Training on the electronic injury surveillance system was also done. Support of and partnership with relevant government offices, non-government partners, civil society were sought. Project was linked to other local initiatives, including the Provincial Road Maintenance Facility Project of AusAID.
Results of the project
Survey data on risk factors of road traffic injuries were generated and used to develop a multisectoral local action plan for road safety for Guimaras. Injury surveillance, including determination of blood alcohol content among injury cases, became routine procedure in local hospitals.
Two of the five municipalities in Guimaras have passed an ordinance against drinking and driving in 2011, and have started enforcing iit in 2012, in collaboration with the local police.
A multisectoral local road sector management committee was formally created through a provincial executive order in 2012.
Improvement in health outcomes were observed. Latest data from local hospitals indicate a 38% reduction of road traffic injuries, from 867 in 2009 to 545 in 2011. A 22% reduction in deaths was also seen, from 9 in 2009 to 7 in 2011. A formal project evaluation is planned in 2012.
Contribution to road traffic injury prevention
The local initiative can serve as a model for promoting road safety, and reducing fatal and non-fatal road traffic injuries in local communities. It can also influence national actions, as the project‘s outputs on local ordinance on drinking and driving can demonstrate feasibility and potential for scale up at national level.