‘Road traffic injuries weaken economic growth’


- says Road Safety Authority boss

May 1, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

The Executive Director of Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) has opined that road traffic injuries weaken economic growth and that the economic costs are disproportionately borne by the poor.

According to Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu, road traffic injuries put immense burden on healthcare systems and divert resources from other priorities, while in many low and middle income countries it accounts for a large number of trauma admissions.

She told Concord Times that frequent road accidents have killed so many children and young people, stating, “We want road safety for everyone. The Child Declaration launched by Save Kids’ Lives to be delivered during the UN Global Road Safety Week is a call for action to reverse the trend.”

“Measures are already in place but often not implemented. Low and middle-income countries account for 90% of the 1.
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24 million annual road traffic fatalities. Road safety is an agenda for health, education and eradication of poverty,” she added and called for a global target in a post-2015 Health Goal to drastically minimize road deaths.

Dr. Bendu noted that road accidents have devastating effects on education with hundreds of thousands of school going children in low and middle income countries losing their right to education every year due to road traffic injuries.

She said the World Health Organization Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013 confirms the gap between developed and developing countries on road injuries, and that the report indicates that road deaths increased dramatically in West Africa (112%) during the GBD period.

“The World Bank has estimated the cost of road traffic injuries at US$100 billion which represents 80% of OECD aid in 2009. Research indicates that the majority of urban and rural poor households with members suffering road traffic casualties were not poor before the loss of a wage earner,” she added.

The SLRSA would from 4-10 May this year join other countries in the world to celebrate the Global Road Safety Week on the theme: ‘Save Kids Lives’.