The Challenges of China Road Traffic Safety

by RO on Thursday, 13 August 2009 Comments
Road traffic accidents are global public health problems that account for an estimated 1.2million deaths annually. Without increased efforts and new initiatives, the total number of road traffic injuries and fatalities worldwide is forecast to rise by 65% between 2000 and 2020, while in low and middle-income countries, road traffic fatalities are expected to increase by as much as 80% over the same period.

A World Bank working paper released this August states that China should constitute a priority for the World Bank Global Road Safety Strategy. According to China’s Ministry of Health (MOH), they had the highest number of road traffic fatalities in the world in 2003 (220,000), accounting for 18% of global road traffic fatalities, despite having less than 5% of the global vehicle fleet. Road Traffic Injury (RTI) is the primary cause of injury related death in China (2007).

The Chinese government has taken strong measures, such as the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Road Safety Forum (October 2003), and the implementation of the Road Traffic Safety Law (May 2004). These measures helped to decrease, from 2005, the per capita rate of road traffic fatalities which account for 28% of all injury related deaths.

The economic cost of RTI was estimated by the Ministry of Health to be 0.40% of GDP in 2003, approximately 30% of this overall cost of injury. Despite this injury has not yet been established as a priority either by the Ministry of Health or the World Bank Health Sector. So the priority of injury should be included within the agendas of the WB, other International Organizations and the Chinese ministry of health alongside the current areas of Health Sector Reform, Emerging Infectious Diseases (e.g. Avian Flu) and Non-Communicable Diseases (e.g. Cardiovascular Diseases).

The World Bank should prepare for the upcoming Five-Year Plan period where they could take the lead in partnership with the WHO, working together with the Chinese Government to implement a more rapid response to the projected burden of road traffic fatalities and injuries.
Download the report on the World Bank website

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