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Children as Roadkill

Leading Bali Doctor Says Traffic Accidents Is Baliís Leading Public Health Problem

(9/2/2012) Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post) quotes Dr. Tjakra Wibawa Manuaba of the medical faculty at Bali’s Udayana University citing traffic accidents as the island’s number one public health issue.

Said Dr. Manuaba: “People might consider cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and even contagious diseases like rabies as the most incurable and deadly diseases for the Balinese people. For me, traffic accidents are now the biggest killer.”

Concerned at the growing number of accident and resulting casualties that disproportionately affect young people, Manuaba regrets the resulting widespread physical, financial and psychological consequences for Bali and its people.

While the Indonesian Cancer Foundation blames cancer for numerous deaths, Manuaba, who is himself an oncologist, retorts: 

“Cancer and cardiovascular diseases are actually treatable if the sufferer receives early medical treatment and leads a healthy life.”

Bali police estimate that 700 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2011, a total that does not include people who died in hospital or later as the result of injuries sustained on Bali’s roadways. In the same year, 759 sustained serious injuries while 1,591 suffered minor injuries.

Traffic injuries and deaths are most prevalent among people aged 16-30 years of age. The Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar claims its treats 150 people every day involved in traffic mishaps on the island’s roads

Manuaba continued: “This [traffic accidents] is the most crucial public health issue that must be addressed in a comprehensive way. It is mostly caused by lack of discipline, human error and public ignorance on the dangers of driving recklessly . . . Poor road facilities, unclear traffic signs and weak law enforcement also contribute to serious traffic accidents.”

The Doctor slammed the failure of the police, families and schools to educate young people on road safety. He also cited the tendency for parent to ignore the law and to purchase motorcycles for their children who are unlicensed and too young to legally operate a motor vehicle.

He said 80% of the accidents in Bali involve motorcycles.

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