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Over-speeding Deaths Increasing in India

; Experts Call for Nation-wide Injury Prevention Programme to Save Life and Disability

· According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH), the number of people killed due to over-speeding has increased from 58,000 in 2014 to 98,000 in 2018 whereas the number of people killed due to drunken driving has dropped from 7,000 to 4,200 during the same period.

· Between the speed of 50 km/hr and 80 km/hr, the chances of death in case of a crash increases from 20 per cent to 60 percent, it says.

· Experts say making injuries a notifiable disease will help monitor the situation closely as well as plan and implement graded responses to address and prevent them.

· India’s first-ever National Injury Prevention Week was launched on 1st September by The Spinal Cord Society, Indian Orthopaedic Association (IOA), Association of Spine Surgeons of India (ASSI), Indian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IAPMR), Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) and 8 other National Societies in 10 cities under the aegis of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

Expressing concern over the fact that the number of people dying due to over-speeding in India is increasing rapidly while drunken driving deaths are reducing, doctors, public health experts and community leaders have reiterated the need to monitor the situation by making injury a ‘notifiable disease’ and institute a nation-wide injury prevention programme to not only reduce deaths, but disability as well, improving the quality of life of common people.

The observation was made during India’s first-ever National Injury Prevention Week by The Spinal Cord Society, Indian Orthopaedic Association (IOA), Association of Spine Surgeons of India (ASSI), Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC), Indian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IAPMR), Indian Head Injury Foundation (IHIF, Spinal Cord Society, ), Chandigarh Spinal Rehab , The Association of People with Disability, The Spinal Foundation, KARA Medical Foundation, Spine Wellness and Care Foundation, Be Brave and Nina Foundation under the aegis of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The week-long program was launched in New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cuttack, Pune, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Patna, and Bhopal with the aim of building awareness about injury prevention through education, research, and advocacy.

According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH), the number of people killed due to over-speeding has increased from 58,000 in 2014 to 98,000 in 2018 whereas the number of people killed due to drunken driving has dropped from 7,000 to 4,200 during the same period. The MORTH data highlights that between the speed of 50 km/hr and 80 km/hr, the chances of death in case of a crash increases from 20 per cent to 60 percent.

Noting the prevailing injury prevention best practices from all over the world, Dr. Manas Pratim Roy, Assistant Director General, DGHS, MoHFW, said, “National Injury Surveillance, Trauma Registry and Capacity Building Centre (NISC) has been established in the country. The Government is working continuously for strengthening the system for ensuring prevention & management of injuries across the country.”

Noting that MORTH data shows road injuries as one of the top four causes of death and health loss among Indians aged between 15 years and 49 years, doctors and community leaders called for making injuries a notified disease like TB and HIV/AIDS to enable close monitoring.

“Road crashes and falls are among the top reasons of injury in India – road accidents are the 8th leading cause of death in all age groups, surpassing TB, HIV/AIDS or diarrheal diseases. In 2017, 26,896 adults were killed only because they were not using seatbelts. Making injuries a notifiable disease will help monitor the situation closely as well as plan and implement graded responses to address and prevent them. Injury prevention is important to maintain the quality of life and prevent out-of-pocket expenditure for healthcare. Injury prevention programs yield tremendous results: investing USD 10 per person in prevention programs can help us save nearly USD 3 billion in health care costs in 2 years,” said Dr H S Chhabra, President Spinal Cord Society, Immediate Past President ISCoS & ASSI, Medical Director Cum Chief of Spine Services, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi.

Experts called for a stronger ‘National Injury Prevention and Control Program’ with an integrated multi-sectoral approach at Centre and State levels, appointment of a nodal agency with appropriate authority and budget, and strengthening of the National Injury Surveillance System in a phased manner, starting with mandatory data collection from all hospitalized injuries like other notifiable diseases. Observing that the success of the prevention program lies in resourcing and enforcement of legislation in combination with education, training and capacity building, they recommended the authorities to strengthen pre-hospital and emergency care, prioritize the vulnerable population in every sector and include injury prevention and management in the curriculum of all relevant educational programs at various levels.

The National Injury Prevention Week is a first-of-its-kind initiative that brings together Indian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IAPMR), Indian Head Injury Foundation (IHIF), Chandigarh Spinal Rehab, The Association of People with Disability, The Spinal Foundation, KARA Medical Foundation, Spine Wellness and Care Foundation, Be Brave and Nina Foundation as well. Activities other than panel discussions held across India as a part of the program included an injury prevention and SCI management campaign for government frontline workers, a Live radio program in Kannada, an interactive step-in-and-feel event for able bodied to use the assistive devices and an inclusive cricket match in Bengaluru, a wheelchair donation camp at Delhi Commonwealth Women’s Association Charitable Medical Centre, as well as digital play and nukkad natak.

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