Workshop on Multisectoral Response to Road Traffic Injuries in India

To remember victims of road traffic crashes, sensitize key stakeholders about the burden of road traffic injuries and advocate for actions at individual and societal levels to make roads safer, WHO Country Office for India along with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) organized a consultation on Multisectoral Response to Road Traffic Injuries in India at New Delhi on 18 November 2016.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, called for improving emergency services. “All efforts will be made in coordination with Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and other stakeholders to prevent and decrease the injuries, disabilities and deaths due to road traffic accidents,” he said.

Organised on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, the consultation focussed attention on promoting awareness on the burden of road traffic injuries and advocated for effective policies, legislations, and multisectoral actions to prevent road traffic injuries and to provide effective trauma care services.

In his address, Mr Pon Radhakrishnan, Minister of State, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, highlighted that attitudinal change is of paramount importance in tackling the issue of road safety. “We need multi-pronged strategy to manage the road accident and post-accident actions. Hospital trauma care systems need to be strengthened and early rehabilitation should be provided for minimizing both physical and psychological trauma,” he added.

Also present on the occasion were Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services, MoHFW; Mr C K Mishra, Secretary, MoHFW; Mr Sanjay Mitra, Secretary, MoRTH along with representatives from WHO Collaborating Centres, media, academicians, trauma hospitals, amongst others.

Focussing on the public health aspect of road safety, Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India said, “The risk factors are known - wearing a helmet and a seat belt, not drinking and driving, keeping within the speed limit, not jumping the red light and not using the mobile while driving, the latest risk factor. What needs to be done is to create awareness to change behaviour in reducing these risk factors; this will help make our roads safer. To support behaviour change, we need good laws and effective enforcement of these laws. This will further help reduce death and injury on the roads.”

A panel consultation addressed; (i) Burden of road traffic injury (RTI); (ii) RTI prevention and trauma care; (iii) Road safety legislation and enforcement; (iv) Behavioral risk factors; and (v) Design of roads and motor vehicles; and other related issues.

As a follow-up to the consultation, to raise awareness among individuals, WHO is supporting an advocacy event in Delhi on 20 November 2016 spreading messages on the risk factors of over-speeding, drunk-driving, not wearing a helmet, not-wearing a seat belt, jumping red light, etc.