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Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2010 Nov;28(5):326-36.

Economic impact of fatal and nonfatal road traffic injuries in Belize in 2007.

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Health Systems Research Center, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Mexico.



To estimate the economic cost of road traffic injuries in Belize in 2007.


A cross-sectional study was conducted using secondary cost data, assuming the health system and social perspectives. Epidemiologic information was obtained from the mortality database, the national hospital discharge database, and administrative records from police and the Ministry of Health. A health provider survey was carried out in order to estimate the postdischarge ambulatory utilization figures. Direct cost was estimated with the World Health Organization WHO-CHOICE (CHOosing Interventions that are Cost Effective) database. Prehospital costs were obtained from the Belize emergency response team. After estimating years of potential life lost using the Belize life expectancy for 2008 and methodology proposed by the Pan American Health Organization, the indirect cost associated with premature death was estimated with the human capital approach. Total estimation of road traffic injuries' economic costs used a decision tree model approach. Multiway sensitivity analysis was used to incorporate uncertainty in the estimations.


Sixty-one people died due to road traffic injuries during 2007, 338 were hospitalized, and 565 people were estimated to be slightly injured. A total of 2,501 years of potential life were lost in Belize due to premature death, with a total economic cost of US$11,062,544. This figure represents 0.9% of the Belize gross domestic product. Direct cost was estimated at US$163,503, of which 2.4% was spent on fatalities, 46.7% on the severely injured, and 50.9% on the slightly injured.


The economic cost estimations make clear the need to prevent road traffic injuries with a strategic and multisectoral approach that focuses on addressing the main problems identified.

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