n South African Medical Journal - Trauma care in South Africa - a call to arms : editorial

Volume 101, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



For most of us December 2010 is a fading memory; we will not share the pain felt by 1 500 families, grieving another festive season of carnage on South Africa's road system. From the top strong words have been spoken and promises made, but will anything change? Every month, 1 200 deaths occur on our roads, and this shows no sign of decreasing. If a jumbo jet crashed into OR Tambo's main runway each and every week, how long would we wait before we demanded action? The body count grows, but as we enter the World Health Organization (WHO)'s Decade for Action for Road Safety, is 2011 the year that we will stand up and do something? What also of the 60 000 South Africans who meet their end violently every year? If simple numbers cannot motivate us, can we be shamed into action by the fact that we have one of the highest rates of traumatic death in the world? Trauma is at epidemic levels in South Africa, but are we taking this epidemic seriously? Statistics suggest not.

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