Phnom Penh, 25th July 2012 β The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) launch today a joint media campaign on helmet use for all drivers of motorized two and three wheelers and their passengers. At the launch event, WHO and the Global Road Safety Partnership have also provided breath-analysers and other equipment to support the traffic police to enforce helmet usage and crackdown on drinking and driving.
Both activities are part of the Road Safety in 10 Countries (RS10) Project aiming to save lives by reducing the more than 1800 deaths and 6700 severe injuries resulting from road traffic crashes on the roads of Cambodia each year.
The campaign aims to increase awareness and prevention of major risks to motorcycle riders with a clear and simple message: Wear a helmet, anywhere and anytime. The campaign targets drivers and passengers by showing the serious health and legal consequences that riding without a helmet can have for both.
"Road traffic injuries and fatalities are major public health concerns in Cambodia and on average at least 5 people are killed a day on the countryβs roadsβ, said HE Ung Chhu Huor, Secretary General of the National Road Safety Committee. Motorcycles are a significant cause of road traffic injuries and fatalities, especially in developing countries where they are an increasingly frequent means of transport. Head injuries to motorcycle drivers who fail to use helmets are the main cause of disability and deaths in incidents involving this mode of transport. As motorcycle use continually increases in Cambodia, head injuries and related deaths and disabilities are expected to rise.
βFor survivors of head injuries, there is a significant social and economic cost associated with specialized
or long-term care,β said Dr. Pieter JM Van Maaren, the WHO Representative in Cambodia. βCompared with helmeted motorcyclists, non-helmeted motorcyclists are more than four times as likely to have head injuries and ten times as likely to have brain injuries,β stressed Dr. Van Maaren.
In 2011, according to the preliminary report of the Road Crash Victim Information System (RCVIS) there were 16,654 casualties that resulted in 1,905 deaths and 5807 severe injuries in Cambodia. The most vulnerable group was motorcycle riders who constituted 72.5% of the total road traffic casualties and 67% of them died. Among these, 69% suffered severe head injuries. This figure was also observed among motorbike passengers. The RCVIS data indicated only 23% of motorcycle riders were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
This campaign and equipment handover are part of the implementation of the RS10 Project supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies with technical assistance from WHO. RS10 Cambodia began in 2010 with a focus on two risk factors that significantly contribute to an increase in traffic violations and crashes; non-helmet use and drinking and driving. The RS10 Project is led and coordinated by the National Road Safety Committee of the Ministry of Public Works in collaboration with relevant government institutions, various international consortium partners namely WHO, the Global Road Safety Partnership and John Hopkins University, and other road safety stakeholders.
The project is entirely funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. βOur goal is to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries worldwide. And we know that improving road safety in Cambodia will help us achieve our goal. With this helmet campaign we are complementing Cambodia's road safety efforts implemented thus far and increasing awareness of increased enforcement by the police on helmet use.β observed Kelly Larson road safety program representative for Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Bloomberg Philanthropies works primarily to advance five areas globally: the Arts, Education, the Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Form more information please visit: http://bloombergdotorg.tumblr.com/about/
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