The information here is provided by courtesy of the Network's short online course - "An Introduction to Global Health".
Trauma is the greatest cause of death globally between the ages of 5 and 29 years and between 80% - 90% of all trauma occurs in Low and Middle Income Countries. Given that the majority of the population in low- income countries is aged under 35, trauma has a disproportionate effect on the working populations. Despite this, the need for improved systems of trauma care is generally under-recognised. To learn more, have a look at “Trauma – the forgotten pandemic?” by Nigel Rossiter (Wessex Surgeon and Chair of the Primary Trauma Care Foundation).
(“Trauma – the forgotten pandemic?” https://doi.org/10.1007/s00264-021-05213-z)
Taking the world as a whole, the share of deaths from injuries has hardly changed over the last 30 years having been 9% in 1990 and 8% in 2017.
- The main injuries causing of death are from road traffic accidents.
- Suicides are the second most important cause of death from injury. (Table 1)
Deaths from Injuries, 2017
Source : Our world in Data
Road Traffic Accidents
1.24 million people died from road traffic crashes in 2017. A further 20 – 30 million more suffer non-fatal injuries, with many resulting in disability.
More than half of all road traffic accident deaths are among vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. They cost most countries around 3% of their Gross Domestic Product.
- Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young people aged 5 – 29 years.
- Around three quarters of all road traffic accident deaths occur in young males under the age of 25 years.
- 93% of fatalities on the roads occur in low- and middle-income countries, even though they have around 60% of the world’s vehicles.
Death rates from road traffic injury are highest in the African region. (Map 1)
The risk for a health volunteer dying in Africa could be greater from a road traffic accident than from malaria.
What is being done?
WHO provides technical support to countries with the objective of supporting Member States in road safety policy planning, implementation and evaluation.
Its safe system approach includes
- Measures to reduce speed (Every 1% increase in speed produces a 4% increase in the fatal crash risk)
- Prevention of drinking alcohol and driving
- Using motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints
- Preventing distraction e.g. drivers using mobile phones are around 4 times more likely to be involved in a crash than I they are not.
- Improving road infrastructure
- Ensuring vehicles are safe
- Ensuring good post-crash care
- Enforcement of traffic laws
WHO Global status report on road safety, 2018.
WHO – Save Lives : a road safety technical package
WHO – Statistics on Road Safety
WHO – More about road safety