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News from India
  1. Dinesh Mohan
  1. Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme, Indian Institute of Technology, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110016, India (Tel and fax: +91 11 685 8705 , e-mail: dmohan{at}cbme.iitd.ernet.in)

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    Course on road safety

    An international short course on the prevention and control of traffic accidents and injuries was organised by the Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. The course was organised in collaboration with INRETS of France and sponsored by the World Health Organisation and the Association of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The course was attended by 22 participants from 11 countries; it was accompanied by three parallel workshops. The workshop on mobility and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians was one of the preconference workshops held in Asia in preparation for Velo Mondiale 2000 to be held in Amsterdam in June 2000. The objective of the workshop was to focus on issues concerning mobility and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in the Asian region. One of the major issues identified was that road and infrastructure designs for safety and convenience are not always available for the traffic mix present in Asian countries. Most of the designs developed in highly industrialised countries do not account for the presence of a high proportion of motorised two wheelers and the other non-motorised vehicles like hand carts and cycle rickshaws that are present on streets of many Asian and African cities. International cooperation for developing such designs would help in developing appropriate guidelines.

    The second workshop on pre-hospital care of trauma victims focused on the latest international research findings in design of effective emergency care systems for trauma. The major concern expressed by the participants was that there is a tendency to promote high cost emergency care systems, which are not very effective even in high income countries. There is an urgent need to develop the minimum specifications for trauma care systems that are supported by the latest scientific data so that professionals in low income countries are not led to believe that only high technologies and expensive drug systems are necessary for effective emergency care systems.

    The third workshop was on motor vehicles and road safety. Participants from low income countries were concerned that bus and truck designs that would be safer for vulnerable road users are not available today. It appears that international vehicle manufacturers are also not planning to do work on such issues. This in spite of the fact that buses and trucks are involved in a significant proportion in crashes with vulnerable road users in low income countries.
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    The overall impression of participants and the faculty involved with the workshops and the course seems to be that much more work needs to be done to evolve road safety policies and designs that suit low income countries where crash patterns are very different from those in high income countries.

    Children's safety and the journey to school

    In many countries of the region a large number of children travel to school by bus. Every time a child is killed or seriously injured in a bus crash it becomes a major cause of concern and also the media plays up these events. Hardly any studies exist in the region that document the epidemiology of injuries sustained by children in the journey to school. It is possible that most of the deaths and injuries are among children who walk to school, but in the absence of such data those getting hurt in bus accidents get much more attention than the others. In such a situation the parents, the press, and the civic authorities focus on issues like overloading of buses and other vehicles as the main problem, though there are no studies showing that buses and other vehicles carrying a larger number of children have more accidents than those which carry fewer children. The issue becomes more complicated because if they carry fewer children in each bus and other vehicles then the cost of the journey becomes higher and some parents may opt to have their children walk to school or transport them on two wheelers. In such a situation the total number of injuries and deaths may be increase rather than decrease. It would be very useful if professionals around the world could send us their experience in similar situations.

    5th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control, 5–8 March 2000

    We are glad to inform all of you that the organisation of the 5th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control is progressing as scheduled. Eighteen well known professionals from around the world have already agreed to give plenary and state of the art lectures. Over 200 professionals have already indicated their commitment to attend this conference. Eleven satellite meetings/workshops have been confirmed of which nine will be held before the conference and two after the conference. The organisers would like the participation of the widest representation of professionals in planning this conference. We already have about 100 professionals as members of the various committees. We would like to invite suggestions for making the conference more interesting from anyone who is planning to be in Delhi in March 2000. The second announcement and call for papers has been mailed out (web site: www.ciionline.org/fiwoco/).

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