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Measuring the global burden of road traffic injury: implications for low-income and middle-income countries
  1. Mark Stevenson
  1. Professor M Stevenson, Research and Development, The George Institute for International Health and the Faculty of Medicine, The University of Sydney, NSW 2050, Australia; mstevenson{at}

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Most estimates for the projected global burden of road traffic injuries have come from the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease Study.1 There are acknowledged limitations of these estimates, including the under-enumeration of in-country mortality for particular causes of death and the variation in the estimates generated for countries with limited mortality reporting systems or few stratum-specific cases or causes of disease/injury.2 Despite the limitations, the estimates highlight that the disproportionate burden of road traffic injury is currently, and will continue to be, borne in low-income and middle-income countries.34 As a consequence, these countries need to develop or enhance their systems or approaches for identifying, monitoring and measuring this significant public health issue in order to set national priorities for prevention.

The suggestion that low-income and middle-income countries need to invest in systems to enumerate the burden of road traffic injury is not straightforward. The resource implications are so significant that, for many low-income countries, it would require substantial development assistance. Such assistance is often very prescriptive and, as a report from the Council on Health Research for Development recently indicated, is generally determined from outside the country of interest and is seldom based on the health priorities or needs of the country.5 As a consequence, what often develops is a plethora of …

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  • Competing interests: None.

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