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Lagos’ Infamous Traffic Has Life Threatening Consequences

The heavy traffic and bad roads of Lagos have been baffling online mapping tools with potential “life and death implications” for people trying to reach the city’s hospitals, research has found. Researchers looked at cases of pregnant women trying to reach hospital in Nigeria’s most populous city, infamous for its roads, and found they faced a journey of up to four times longer than computers and satellites suggest, which mean the models for access to healthcare facilities are also out of kilter. The findings of the study published last week in BMJ Global Health fly in the face of assumptions that Nigerian women in towns can access maternal care far more easily than those in rural areas, said researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE), the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp. The study collected data from 738 pregnant women who arrived at four of Lagos’s largest public hospitals with life-threatening complications. Estimating their travel time using computer models and online maps, researchers sent out drivers to reconstruct their journeys and found that travel times were one and a half times longer than Google maps predicted, and four times longer than computer models.