The toll on Bangladesh's emergency wards

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Dec 10 2012, 06:04:46

Those first on the scene of an accident can do more harm than good, but a new first aid scheme is slowly saving lives

For those involved in a road accident in Bangladesh, the difference between life or death can mean the back of a rickshaw.

"Most of the road accident victims who reach us at the hospital have been brought here by a rickshaw driver who was at the scene, or loaded on to the back of a truck or, if they are lucky, their relatives might have a car and be able to get them here themselves," says Mohamed Abu Zaed, a doctor at the overcrowded Narsingdi district hospital in central Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has one of the worst road death rates in the world. The World Health Organisation estimates that 20,000 people die every year on the country's roads. In addition, hundreds of thousands are seriously injured. Road safety campaigners estimate that for every road death there are four or five reported serious injuries - such as spinal breaks and head trauma - and another 75 injuries that go unreported.

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