World Remembrance Day 2016 advocates for millions of road traffic victims

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Watch WHO’s Etienne Krug on the need to prioritise post-crash care.
The World Day of Remembrance takes place on 20 November 2016.
The World Day of Remembrance takes place on 20 November 2016.
Research by the FIA Foundation and Child Health Initiative partners has detailed the appalling impact of road traffic crashes on victims, like Phattharaporn (above) and Olaf (below) and their families.
Research by the FIA Foundation and Child Health Initiative partners has detailed the appalling impact of road traffic crashes on victims, like Phattharaporn (above) and Olaf (below) and their families.

The theme for the 2016 World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, to be held on Sunday 20th November, is post-crash care. Many lives are lost in developing countries because of a lack of timely emergency response. Around the world many of those injured in road crashes face lengthy rehabilitation, often made more arduous by inadequate surgical and post-trauma care. Many families are left to pick up the pieces while struggling to pay huge medical bills, children often have to leave school to care for family members.

To support the 2016 World Day of Remembrance the FIA Foundation has provided funding for a new World Health Organization guide to post-crash response. The guide provides advice on every aspect of post-crash care, from first aid and emergency response to hospital trauma and surgical care; rehabilitation and legal redress; counselling and care for those suffering from post-traumatic stress or depression. Launching the guide, Dr Etienne Krug, WHO Director of Violence & Injury Prevention, said: “This year’s World Day of Remembrance highlights the fact that even after a road traffic crash occurs, there is an enormous opportunity to save lives and reduce disability. Countries can do this by providing timely emergency care, medical treatment, psychological support, and rehabilitation for the injured. They should also investigate crashes and provide justice to the injured and bereaved. Today, too many countries fail to provide this much needed post-crash care.”

In a message for the World Day of Remembrance, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said:

“We must focus on post-crash response, the theme of this year’s World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. We can save lives and reduce disability by providing timely emergency care, better medical treatment and psychological support, and early rehabilitation for the injured. Today, too many countries fail to provide effective care for road traffic victims after a crash. Many also fail to investigate crashes thoroughly and provide fair settlements for the injured and bereaved. Worldwide, there is great disparity in access to emergency care. Some 90 per cent of the world’s road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries. It is estimated that if emergency care systems for seriously injured patients in these countries could be brought up to the levels of high-performing nations, an estimated 500,000 lives could be saved each year. Better post-crash response is critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goal target 3.6 to reduce by 50 per cent by 2020 the number of people killed and injured in road traffic crashes. On this World Day of Remembrance, in honour of those killed and injured each year, let us take the necessary steps to make our roads safe for all.”

The FIA Foundation provides supports organisations providing first aid training in several countries, for example in Kenya where the Automobile Association of Kenya is working with St John’s Ambulance to train first responders living and working near the high-risk -Malaba highway, considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in the country. The AAK target is to train 500 public service drivers from June to December 2016. The Foundation has also funded a successful alliance between the FIA and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which has seen national automobile clubs teaming up with their partner IFRC national organisations to provide first aid training to motorists. The Foundation supports advocacy for improved surgical care through membership of the Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma and Anaesthesia Care (G4 Alliance) which works to address the appalling disparities in surgical provision between high income countries or areas and lower income communities.

In a series of reports in 2016, the FIA Foundation has also highlighted the impact of road traffic injury on people across the world, and particularly the long-term economic effect road trauma can have on families, telling the story of people like 10 year old Lucy from Zambia (main picture above), whose family have to travel long distances to visit her in hospital, at great financial cost; Phattharaporn from Thailand, who lost and arm and a leg in a motorcycle crash and now has to try to look after her daughter alone all day while her husband has taken a significant salary cut to enable him to provide home care; and Olaf from Mexico, who has undergone 7 operations to mend broken bones following a motorcycle crash, leaving him in constant pain and his family in dire financial straits.

Saul Billingsley, FIA Foundation Executive Director, said: “We are pleased to support the new WHO post-crash care guide and hope it will help to spur action in communities around the world. Governments must take a lead and provide care for their citizens, improving emergency response and trauma care. Our research has shown the long term impact on families when a loved one is involved in a road traffic crash – in developing countries, without comprehensive insurance or welfare, the post-crash legacy can include crippling debt and loss of life-chances, in addition to bodily injury and the grief that goes with it. We have also detailed the immense savings that can be made for the health sector if road traffic crashes are prevented in the first place through a Safe System approach and the burden of trauma care – sometimes required for decades - is stripped out of health and insurance costs. So this day should be about honouring the victims of road traffic crashes and re-committing to take the measures necessary to ensure that there are many fewer next year.”

Visit the official website of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims to find out about events and memorial services near you.

Download the new WHO guide on post-crash care