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Disabilities secondary to traffic accidents: What information is available in Belgium?

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Traffic accidents and their health consequences are a major public health problem in industrialized countries. In addition to being the first cause of death of children up to the age of 14 years, they are also responsible for considerable morbidity. Persistent lesions and more or less disabling sequelae are the lot of a certain number of causalities. In this study, we took stock of all of the information about functional impairment following injuries sustained in traffic accidents that is available in Belgium. We described the ‘itineraries' of traffic accident patients and identified the potential sources of data. We then analyzed the available and accessible data. Our study shows that we do not have any directly usable data in Belgium that can yield a measure of the public health impact of traffic accidents in terms of temporary and permanent disabilities. Very partial information exists in the country's various institutions and insurance companies, but this information is not suitable for use in a public health approach aimed at quantifying the importance of a health problem and its course over time. We do not feel that the country's main disability measurement tool (BOBI), which is used notably by the insurance companies, attuned to the everyday reality that is experienced by people whose functional abilities have been reduced in the wake of a traffic accident. Given this lack of data, priority should be given to initiating the routine collection of such information or at least to quantifying post-traffic accident disabilities by following up a cohort of traffic accident victims.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-06-01

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