World Trauma Day is observed annually on 17 October globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that trauma is a major cause of death and disability across the world, according to the South African government.
The purpose of observing World Trauma Day
The day is celebrated to emphasize the importance of saving
and protecting a life during the most critical moments. It also notes the
preparation and application of critical measures to deal with and avoid trauma
What is trauma
Trauma is described as any kind of injury to the body. The
cause of the injury could differ and includes road accidents, fires, violence,
and hate crimes.
Data by the WHO shows that road accidents are the number one cause of death among children and young adults that are aged five to twenty-nine, globally.
Preventing road deaths
According to the organisation, research has shown that at least 50% of road deaths that happen in developing countries could have been prevented with effective interference after trauma has occurred.
This could be done by:
- Immediate pre-hospital care
- Adequate knowledge of handling emergency
situations, which involves the training of personnel
- Adequate supply of pre-hospital care equipment
and facilities for example, enough ambulances and other medical supplies
Steps to help road accident victims
Here’s how you can assist if you witness a road accident:
- If you’re driving and see an accident stay calm and park on the side of the road. Use your car to shield the victim from oncoming traffic and turn your emergency lights on
- Assess the situation, check for a number of victims, the nature of their injuries, then call the police and ambulance services
- If the victim is unconscious but is otherwise okay, the United Nation’s (UK) National Health Service recommends putting them in the recovery position (lying on one side, with mouth slightly open)
- If you have any reason to suspect that the victim might have a spinal injury, do not attempt to move them. Instead check if they’re breathing, and if not, open their mouth slightly and gently to see if there is any obvious obstruction you can easily remove to help them breathe
- If the victim is bleeding, make sure there’s nothing in their wounds before using a clean cloth to apply pressure on it. If there is something, avoid the entry site and apply pressure around it to reduce the bleeding
- Do not give water to an unconscious or semi-conscious victim of a road accident
Injuries kill more people than HIV
The WHO also shared that injury killed more people each year than the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), malaria, and tuberculosis (TB). Over 90% of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.
This is quite ironic as these countries only have 54% of the
world’s registered vehicles. The extent of injury and death can also be aggravated
by economic factors.
If fatality rates from severe injury were the same in low
and middle-income countries as they are in high-income countries, around 1.5
and two million lives could be saved every year.