Ebola understandably is dominating the headlines – although it does seem our attention was only fully focused on West Africa when it started to impact on Europe and the USA. And sadly much of the promises of aid have still to be actually delivered upon. Nevertheless tribute must be paid to all the health workers travelling to West Africa to help and to the over 400 health workers who have already lost their lives to this disease.
But what does it take to get an epidemic noticed? There is another epidemic sweeping our world that goes under reported. It kills 3300 people a day, it kills more young adults in Africa than malaria and is the second biggest killer of young men, only Aids/HIV claims more. It is set to be the third most common cause of premature death by 2020.
And this killer is… road traffic deaths. 1.2 million people are killed globally on our roads each year and 50 million are injured although it is known in a number of countries actual deaths and injuries from crashes are under-reported. More than eighty-five percent of road traffic deaths and injuries occur in low and middle income countries, yet they own only some 40 percent of the world’s motor vehicles. Besides the personal tragedies behind these statistics it represent a major drain on these countrys’ health services as well as upon their wider economy.
Yes we must do all we can to stop Ebola, but let us not forget the other global killers that scar and maim our world and let us be as committed to eradicating them too.