On average, 64 people die every day from injuries suffered in traffic accidents, a government-supervised survey reveals.
The startling figure belies daily media reports of deaths caused by road crashes and shows that such fatalities go grossly underreported.
Findings of the Bangladesh Health Injury Survey (BHIS)-2016, only the second such survey conducted in the country, will be formally unveiled tomorrow.
The Daily Star has obtained a copy of the report in advance.
The first one, done in 2003, was exclusively on children.
The 2016 survey, covering as many as three lakh people in 16 districts as sample, identifies four major causes -- suicide, traffic accident, drowning and fall -- of deaths from injuries .
It finds that 50 adults die from traffic-accident injuries daily, making it the number one cause of all injury-related deaths among adults.
The number of children (below 18) killed on roads rose from nine a day to 14 a day, show the corresponding figures of BHIS-2003 and BHIS-2016.
The BHIS-2016 was carried out by the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB), under the directive of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The survey finds that on average, 300 people are killed due to different forms of injuries, 660 more become disabled, and 55,000 others suffer from non-fatal injuries every day in Bangladesh.
According to the report, suicide, road accident and drowning are top three causes of injury-related mortality among people of all ages.
However, when adult and child victims are considered separately, traffic-accident injuries are found to be the number one reason for adult deaths (50 a day), followed by suicide (40 a day), and fall (35 a day).
In cases of injury-related deaths of children, drowning (40 a day) is the main killer, followed by suicide (26 a day) and traffic accident injuries (14 a day).
Among children aged up to nine, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths while it is suicide that dominates in the 10-24 age group.
Deaths due to traffic accident injuries were found higher in the 25-29 years age group and fall was the leading cause of deaths in old age, it added.
Injuries accounted for 12.2 percent of all deaths in all age groups, according to the report.
It estimates that over 1,08,000 people die due to injuries each year and among them over 39,000 are children, a 9,000-increase from the 2003 survey.
The report mentions that about 20 million children and adults are injured while more than 2,41,000 people become disabled a year.
It also includes electrocution, homicide, animal-related injuries, unintentional poisoning, burns, injuries by blunt objects, cuts and machine-related injuries.
Faruk Ahmed Bhuiyan, line director of Non-communicable Disease Control Programme of the DGHS, said the survey was carried out to understand the current situation prior to the government's nationwide injury prevention initiatives.
“We hope this report will be a valuable resource for developing injury prevention strategies and also designing and implementing various national injury prevention programmes.”
Aminur Rahman, one of the authors of the BHIS-2016, said, “The earlier BHIS report focused only on children but this one is the first ever report in Bangladesh that includes all ages. The survey finds that injury is the major health problem for all ages. This is alarming.”
He said multiple approaches should be taken to prevent injuries.
“The existing effective interventions need to be scaled up throughout the country, and further research should be conducted to identify other cost-effective interventions.”
Aminur also said the government, non-government and private agencies need to work together to address this alarming trend.