Posted on May 05, 2013

Pedestrians are Qatar’s most vulnerable road users, with 71 percent dying at the scene, according to new road traffic injury statistics released for the Second United Nations (UN) Global Road Safety Week. Road traffic injuries cause one out of every eight deaths (12.5%) in Qatar and they are the leading killer, causing more deaths than cancer or cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Rafael Consunji, Injury Prevention Director, Trauma Surgery Section of Hamad General Hospital (HGH).

The Second UN Global Road Safety Week, being held 6-12 May 2013, is dedicated to pedestrian safety and will be marked in Qatar by a series of events and the start of the campaign – “Important Steps for Pedestrian Safety in Qatar” – designed to reduce fatalities and injuries. “Every year, about 80 pedestrians die in Qatar and more than 200 suffer from severe injuries that require hospitalization,” Dr. Consunji said. “The Trauma Surgery Section of HGH admits 1,700 patients every year; the proportion of pedestrians involved has risen from around 10 percent in 2007 to 12 percent in 2011 and these numbers are on the rise.”

“During UN Global Road Safety Week, we are spearheading a collaborative campaign to raise awareness of the vulnerability of pedestrians and the programs being implemented to make them safer. The Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016 has identified pedestrian safety as a priority health concern owing to the fact that a greater proportion of pedestrians are killed or injured on our roads than the global average. More must be done to protect pedestrians through the education of both pedestrians and drivers, the construction of more pedestrian-friendly roads and the enforcement of rules aimed at keeping pedestrians safe.”

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Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users owing to the fact that they do not have any inherent or native protective barriers between them and other road users. In statistics released today to highlight the importance of pedestrian safety in Qatar, it was revealed:

  • 92% victims are expatriates, mostly workers from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka;
  • One in six victims was a child, younger than 14 years of age;
  • More pedestrians were injured on Thursdays and Fridays; the early evening hours between 3 and 9p.m. and the early morning hours between 6 and 9a.m. are thought to be the most dangerous;
  • One in 9 victims will succumb to their injuries and those that survive will suffer from moderate to severe injuries requiring seven days in the hospital.

Dr. Hassan Al-Thani, Head, Trauma, Vascular and General Surgery Sections, Hamad General Hospital said each day HMC’s Trauma team and other dedicated professionals work tirelessly to treat the victims of road accidents.

“Trauma is a leading cause of death in the young adult population within the Gulf region. Qataris one of the first countries outside the United States to establish a complete trauma system to address the growing numbers of people falling victim to serious injury occurring mostly on the road and at work,” he said.

“A major part of a trauma system is injury prevention; preventing injuries from happening in the first place. As medical professionals and road users, we will work with other stakeholders to raise awareness about road safety and to participate in, and implement, best practice programs in order to make Qatar’s roads safer.” 

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