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Improving road safety in Egypt, 1 July 2012

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Traffic congestion in EgyptThe Road Safety in 10 Countries project is an international initiative that aims to raise road safety awareness in 10 low- and middle-income countries, including EgyptCairo, 20–21 June 2012 – Road traffic injuries are among the 10 leading causes of death and disability globally. In Egypt, road traffic crashes claim the lives of about 8000 persons annually; thousands more are left with physical disabilities. Half of all deaths occur among vehicle occupants, with pedestrians accounting for 20% of these deaths. The highest rates occur among young adults.

The Global Status Report on Road Safety (2009) shows that the rate of road traffic fatalities in Egypt is one of the highest rates globally – 41.6 per 100 000 population – and is expected to increase over the next two decades.

The Road Safety in 10 Countries project is an international initiative that aims to raise road safety awareness in 10 low- and middle-income countries, including Egypt. The project targets motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, and aims to promote positive road safety behaviours and implement appropriate interventions to eliminate the causes of poor road safety.

A community outreach campaign is being planned as a key activity of the project. The campaign was designed following a community-based study which measured knowledge, behavioural trends, driving speeds and seat belt practices of road users.

The project also seeks to improve data management to better document the number of fatalities, injuries and disabilities resulting from road traffic accidents. Enhanced data collection, registration, distribution and analysis will assist policy- and decision-makers in implementing effective evidence-based interventions to improve road safety and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.

Globally, the project is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and represents a consortium of partners, including WHO, Johns Hopkins International School of Public Health, World Bank Global Road Safety Facility, Association of Safe International Road Travel and the World Resources Institute. In Egypt, the project is supported by the Ministries of Health and Population, Interior, Education, Higher Education and Information, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), and other relevant agencies and civil society organizations.

As part of the Road Safety in 10 Countries project, the WHO Egypt country office, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Population and other relevant ministries and agencies, conducted a workshop on planning community outreach campaigns to raise road safety awareness from 20 to 21 June 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. Participants of the workshop included representatives of various government ministries and community groups.

During the workshop, Dr Naeema Al-Gasseer, acting WHO Representative for Egypt, cited the need for greater enforcement of traffic laws and legislation, the development of road infrastructure and the mobilization of all sectors and groups to improve community awareness of road safety.

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