SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN WORLD HEALTH DAY MESSAGE, SAYS ROAD SAFETY CAN PREVENT NEEDLESS SUFFERING, BUT DOES NOT HAPPEN BY CHANCE

26 March 2004
SG/SM/9224-OBV/415

SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN WORLD HEALTH DAY MESSAGE, SAYS ROAD SAFETY CAN PREVENT NEEDLESS SUFFERING, BUT DOES NOT HAPPEN BY CHANCE

26/03/2004
Press ReleaseSG/SM/9224 OBV/415

SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN WORLD HEALTH DAY MESSAGE, SAYS ROAD SAFETY

CAN PREVENT NEEDLESS SUFFERING, BUT DOES NOT HAPPEN BY CHANCE

Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on World Health Day, observed 7 April:

“Road safety is no accident”, the theme for this year’s World Health Day, reminds us that road safety does not happen by chance.  Achieving and sustaining safety on the roads requires deliberate action from many sectors of society.

Despite enormous improvements in road safety in some countries over the past few decades, nearly 1.2 million people are killed every year in road traffic crashes around the world.,  Most of these deaths, each of which is a personal tragedy, occur singly and draw no attention from the world’s media. About 90 per cent for the most part one by one in a series of personal tragedies, which fail to draw the attention of the world’s media. happen in developing countries, most of them among pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and passengers of public transport.: Between 20 and 50 million more people are seriously injured in such incidents every year, often resulting in disability.

Beyond the human suffering they cause, road traffic injuries result in considerable additional costs to societies.  Globally, more than half of of all victims are between the ages of 15 and 44, the age at which an age they would be most able to contribute to the livelihood of their families and communities.  This loss of breadwinnershas enormous implications for their security of families.  And estimates show that r. UN personnel are not spared, injuries incurred on the road remain one of the leading causes of death and disability for staff. oad traffic injuries cost nations as much as 2 per cent of their gross national products.

       Clearly, rYet most of this loss can be prevented -- by tackling dangerous driving,Addressing issues such as speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol; by promoting the use of helmets and seat belts; by ensuring that people walking and cycling are more visible; by improving the   design of roads and vehicles; by enforcing road safety regulations; and by improving emergency response services. all enhance road safety.The key ingredient to the successful prevention lies in of such interventions is the commitment will of all relevant sectors, public and private -- health, transport, education, finance, police, legislators, manufacturers, foundations and the media -- to make road safety happen.

Road safety is a crucial concern for both a serious a serious public healthconcern and development, and tMuch interest and enthusiasm has been generated around this year’s observance of World Health Day has generated much interest and enthusiasm.   As another component of theand related campaign for road safety, the World Health Organization andWithin the context of the release of the  the /World Bank have issued aworld report on road traffic injury prevention.   and Pparallel advocacy efforts are under way in the United NationsGeneral Assembly.  Building on this momentum, hundreds of groups around the world are focusing attention ontaking this opportunity to highlight the dreadful consequences impact of road traffic injuries, and stressing that they are avoidabletheir preventability   and calling for to take action to prevent such the millions of needless deaths and injuries.  On this World Health Day, let us join together to rededicate ourselves to that mission.

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For information media. Not an official record.