Getting to school: the number one killer

Road traffic accidents are the number one killer of children in Dar. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Road traffic accidents are the number one killer of children in Dar, says a report by the Global Initiative for Child Health and Mobility. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

The leading cause of death for school-aged children in Dar is road traffic fatalities, says a report by the Global Initiative for Child Health and Mobility.

Higher than national HIV/aids malaria fatality rates, the report says that in the highest-risk areas of Dar es Salaam, 45 out of every 100,000 children aged 5-14 are killed due to road traffic fatalities.

The report also says the road injury rate for these children– the majority of whom walk to school — is 1,300 injuries per 100,000.

Amend, a road safety NGO, says they studied just three percent of Dar’s schools in 2014 and 2015 and found 199 students who suffered road traffic injuries: seven resulted in deaths, one in an amputation and thirteen in broken bones.

These deaths don’t happen in a vacuum, says the report.

“For the urban poor, who make up 70% of Dar es Salaam’s population, even a minor road traffic injury can drain a family of several months’ wages, and at the same time family members will typically be unable to work, having instead to care for an injured relative.”

The report also notes that the World Health Organization (WHO) says road death data for all of Tanzania may be grossly under-reported by as much as 400 percent.

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For example, 4,002 road traffic fatalities were reported nation-wide in 2013 but the WHO estimated it may be as high as 16,211 fatalities.

“Often the communication between these different ministries, departments and agencies is poor. For example, the traffic police may record the numbers of deaths at the scene of a crash, but will not follow up with hospitals to find out if other victims died in the hours and days that followed.”

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About the Author

Daniel Hayduk

Daniel is Dar Post’s news director. When not in the newsroom, he spends his days helping NGOs across the continent find their creative side.