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Rising road fatalities a global concern

Dr. Julien Jones of the National Road Safety Council gesticulates to Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson (second left) at yesterday’s service.

KINGSTON — Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday warned Jamaicans that new data had shown that crash-related fatalities could, within eight years, overtake HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of preventable deaths across the globe.

The prime minister used the church service to mark Jamaica’s joining of the global community in observing the seventh annual World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, to urge her compatriots to do more to reduce these crashes.

“While it is true that our road fatalities can be considered miniscule on a global scale, the gravity of this worldwide problem is painfully illustrated by the fact that road injuries claim over 3,000 lives and seriously disable over 100,000 people every day,” said the PM in her message delivered by Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson at the Tarrant Baptist Church in Kingston.

Simpson Miller said that at such a rate, road fatalities could overtake HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of preventable deaths and ill health globally. She said Jamaica was commited to doing its part in preventing such a development through its advocacy and support for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, 2011-2020.

Speaking for himself, Ferguson said Jamaica’s health services were being stressed by thousand of injuries resulting from road crashes.

“Our hospitals and clinics are already fully extended or in some cases over extended,” said Minister Ferguson.

Still, the minister said he was encouraged that there had been a decline in the number of trafficrelated injuries at the eight government hospitals over the past five years. (Observer)

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