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Submitted by Eva Jarawan on
It's great to see a blog on this subject and to read about the efforts and results in Russia. This problem is not unique to ECA. While most high-income countries have had a substantial success in reducing road traffic deaths and injuries, the developing world is experiencing a worsening of the problem with economic development. A strong push, similar to what was done in Russia is needed for countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. However, in order for governments to make the needed political and economic commitments to address the problem, they need reliable estimates of the burden of road traffic injuries. They need as well to compare the magnitude of this problem with that of other pressing problems. In other words, to succeed in advocacy, we need good statistics. I came across a very recent report (2011) that was prepared by the Harvard School of Public Health "Road Injuries in 18 Countries". It was commissioned by the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility to develop an injury metrics framework for deriving best estimates of the burden of road injuries in information poor settings and to implement the framework in 18 countries. The report shows that while national injury surveillance systems may be non-existent, most countries have a wide array of existing data sources that can be used to generate estimates of the national burden of road injuries. The report shows that even in some of the poorest countries like Mozambique, data sources were not scarce. So, we have no excuse. The health sector has an important role to play in identifying data sources and in communicating the results to a wider audience of policy makers. Road safety is a public health issue and a social equity issue that we cannot continue to ignore.