POST TIME: 22 October, 2016 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 21 October, 2016 09:07:38 PM
Road accidents and children
Masum Al Jaki

Road accidents and children

Causes of child deaths are shifting from infectious diseases, such as pneumonia, malaria, or diarrheal disease, to external causes, such as accidents, violence, drowning, etc. This is one part of the epidemiological transition in a developing country like Bangladesh. Increased uptake of vaccines, reduction in vitamin A deficiency, fewer births, and better hygiene are some of the key factors helping drive down infectious disease mortality. Immunisation against measles alone helped prevent child death.
A UNICEF study revealed that after infancy, injury is the leading killer of children in Bangladesh. An estimated 2,600 children are injured every day. Each day, more than 80 of these children die from their injuries. More than half of all injury deaths are caused by drowning. While infections and non-communicable diseases are the leading killers of infants, drowning is the biggest killer of children aged 1 to 4, accounting for 26 per cent of all deaths among that age group nationally. The proportion of deaths due to injuries only increases with age. More than half (53 per cent) of the total deaths among 5-17 year-olds are due to injuries. Although the drowning death toll decreases after the age of five as children learn how to swim, drowning deaths continue to be the major killer of children until the age of 10, accounting for 29 percent of all deaths among children aged 5-9.
The situation is deteriorating with increasing number of road accident deaths, largely as direct consequences of rapid growth in population, motorisation and urbanisation. A study of BUET finds that each year nearly 4000 people are killed in road accidents of which 21 percent are children under 16 years of age. The recent study revealed that the road traffic injuries are the leading cause of fatalities to children age group of 10-14 years. This clearly demonstrates the high risk of children in traffic accidents in Bangladesh. The children are predominantly involved in traffic injuries as pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicle occupants and passengers.

The writer is Deputy Manager, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). E-mail: masum.jaki@yahoo.com