The Lancet: Reducing road traffic accidents in Bangladesh (2)

27 January, 2019

Congratulations to Vivek for writing about strategies to reduce road traffic accidents, which despite being one of the major causes of death in many countries and increasingly so in low income countries, have rarely been discussed on HIFA or its sister forum CHIFA.

It was disappointing to read the Lancet editorial referred to by Vivek

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31800-2/fulltext

which highlighted the extraordinary crackdown by the Bangladesh government on protests against the lack of road safety measures.

Vivek and colleagues call for pedestrian education which is certainly necessary and desirable. However enforcement needs to be targeted at those responsible for the injuries and who are driving at high speeds in metal boxes. Of the three 'e's of injury prevention namely environmental change, enforcement and education - it sounds like the first two are the ones which need to take priority - in the UK as much as in Bangladesh. Here we have seen big improvements in mortality rates from enforcing speed limits and seat belt wearing, as well as traffic calming in residential areas and the separation of cycles from motor cars through building of cycle lanes. Community campaigns and pressure from medical organisations have led the way in bringing about government action.

Tony Waterston

HIFA profile: Tony Waterston is a retired consultant paediatrician who worked mainly in the community in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. He spent 6 years working in Zambia and Zimbabwe and directed the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Diploma in Palestinian Child Health teaching programme in the occupied Palestinian territories. He was an Editor of the Journal of Tropical Pediatrics and is on the Executive Committee of the International Society for Social Pediatrics. His academic interests are child poverty, advocacy for child health and children's rights. He is currently the lead moderator of CHIFA (HIFA's sister forum on child health and rights). www.chifa.org He is also a member of the HIFA Steering Group. www.hifa.org/people/steering-group www.hifa.org/support/members/tony

Email: Tony.Waterston AT newcastle.ac.uk