WHO Working with Partners to Help Journalist Better Report on Road Safety

The WHO’s Global status report on road safety 2018 was released earlier this month and highlighted the rising death toll on our roads all over the World. In Sri Lanka, road traffic related incidents are one of the leading causes of death, with an estimated 8-9 deaths per day for 2018. The majority of these are males between the ages of 15 and 45, typically the providers and breadwinners for their families and communities.

On the current trend, the prediction for 2030 is that road traffic accidents will be the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 45 It is an issue that is affecting the Country’s attempts to achieve SDG goals with efforts being made to reduce these statistics by 50% before 2020.

Coinciding with the release of the Global Report, WHO Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Medical Association and Institute for the Prevention of Injury and Violence conducted a series of workshops for journalist on how to better report road traffic accidents and their aftermath.

Dr Patanjali Dev Nayar, SEARO Regional Adviser, Disability, Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation led the workshops, sensitizing journalists from both the print and electronic media in Sri Lanka to the impact of their coverage of road traffic incidents involving injuries and fatalities.

Working closely with the journalists from both the Sinhala and Tamil Press, Dr.Patanjali shared the experience of colleagues working in other parts of the region on how better to cover road traffic accidents.

Dr. Patanjali engaged them in a lively dialogue designed to help them bust myths and advocate for better road safety in Sri Lanka where nearly 3000 people die every year as a result of a road traffic incidents. He also stressed that road traffic accidents produce a ‘domino effect’ where there is an adverse effect on many more people apart from the victim of the accident.

As an additional resource to journalists, the WHO Reporting Guidelines of Road Traffic Accident have now been translated into Sinhala and Tamil, the result of a collaboration between the SLMA and the Institute for the Prevention of Injury and Violence. These guidelines are available here: