Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has commemorated the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR), raising awareness about prevention of road traffic injuries (RTIs) and deaths on Qatar’s roads. “Speed kills – design out speeding” was the theme for this year’s WDR, which was organized within the framework of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 and its lead agency, the World Health Organization. WDR is marked globally on the third Sunday of November each year to remember the millions killed and injured on the world’s roads. The day provides an opportunity for survivors of road traffic injuries to share their messages of hope and support for fellow victims and their families.
Recognizing that RTIs are the leading cause of death in Qatar, Dr. Hassan Al Thani, Head of Trauma and Vascular Surgery at HMC said: “Beyond providing excellent care for victims of RTIs at HMC’s Level 1 Trauma Center, our dedicated team of surgeons, nurses and allied healthcare professionals are prioritizing efforts to prevent these injuries and deaths on the road from happening in the first place. We are aligning efforts of the Hamad Injury Prevention Program (HIPP) – the community outreach arm of HMC’s Trauma Surgery section – with those of the Ministry of Interior’s National Traffic Safety Committee through the ‘One Second Campaign’, the national road safety program of Qatar.”
The main stakeholders in the field of road safety in Qatar, the National Traffic Safety Committee, the Ministry of Interior and the Supreme Council of Health (SCH), were present to signify their support for the activity as part of sustained multi-sectoral efforts to improve road safety in Qatar. Dr. Mohammed Al Thani, SCH Director of Public Health, commended the work of the HMC Trauma Center team in ensuring that victims of RTIs get the treatment they need without delay.
While introducing victims of RTI at the WDR event , Dr. Somaya Al Molawi from HMC’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, said at least one out of four patients needing rehabilitation care is a victim of an RTI. Mr. Abdulrahman Al Yafei and Mr. Hassan Saleem, victims of crashes involving a vehicle and a motorcycle respectively, and Mr. Nel Balquin, a pedestrian who was hit by a car, were present at the event to share their experiences and highlight how speeding contributed to their accidents. “The media has a vital role in educating people, especially parents, on the importance of observing traffic safety rules and regulations,” said Abdelrahman, a young Qatari.
Speaking encouraging words for fellow RTI victims who are living with disabilities, Abdelrahman said even though he has been confined to a wheelchair since his injury ten years ago, he has managed to succeed in life just like any other individual, continuing with his studies, working, and even competing successfully in sports. Dr. Rafael Consunji, Director of the HIPP cited speeding as a consistent contributor to crashes that cause severe injury and death, as demonstrated by the fact that more than half of the road deaths in Qatar happen at the scene of the crash or before the victim arrives at the hospital.
“The impact of collisions due to vehicles moving at high speeds can cause severe and fatal injuries,” said Dr. Consunji. “Requiring seatbelts for all vehicle passengers, child passenger restraint laws and reducing speed limits in urban areas are all proven methods for reducing injuries and deaths from high-speed crashes. Implementing and enforcing these measures can go a long way towards ensuring the safety of everyone on the roads.”
A study on seatbelt compliance among patients with orthopedic injuries admitted to HGH showed that only 36 percent of all patients were using a seatbelt, and that most non-users were young males (with an average age of 32 years) from a Middle Eastern country, driving a four-wheel vehicle, and with a crash that occurred on a main road. The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Talal Ibrahim, Senior Consultant of Orthopedic Surgery at HGH, and his co-authors recommended a national seatbelt campaign to increase seatbelt use among this high-risk population of young drivers.
For more information on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, visit www.worlddayofremembrance.org.