Dr Kunle Olawepo, the Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Committee on Road Safety and Trauma Services, says no fewer than six million people die from traumatic injuries annually.
Olawepo made this known via a statement in Ilorin on Saturday, as the world marks the 2020 World Trauma Day.
He said that over 80 per cent of these injuries were attributable to road traffic crashes.
According to him, trauma is broadly divided into physical and emotional trauma.
“Trauma can be defined as either a physical injury to a living tissue, caused by external force (physical harm), or an emotional (psychological) distress, in response to an unpleasant situation,” he said.
Olawepo said that trauma had contributed to more deaths than malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined, adding that injuries could lead to temporary or permanent disabilities.
“There were 15 fatal plane crashes causing 556 deaths in 2018 alone across the globe and mortality arising from wars was put at about 24,000 in 2014.
“Also, between 50 to 60 million persons were displaced during the second World War,” he said.
Olawepo, who is also the President of Nigerian Orthopaedic Association, said that in Nigeria, deaths recorded from COVID-19, thus far, totalled 1,116.
“Whereas estimated death from Boko Haram terrorism and insurgency alone is put at an average of 1,000 per year in the last three years”.
He added that trauma cut across all ages, sexes, races and societal strata and that it consisted of events such as road traffic accidents, plane crashes, boat and ship wreckages as well as fire outbreaks, among others.
On the signs of trauma, Olawepo said that those with trauma could exhibit emotional traits such as outbursts, aggressive behaviour, withdrawal and depression, among others.
He also stressed that death and physical disabilities in hitherto able-bodied people, arising from trauma, significantly affected the economic power of families, communities and the nation at large.
“Young and active age group is the principally affected group; thus drastically dropping national productivity and diminishing the economy. Militancy and pipeline disruptions cripple the main source of income for Nigeria,” he said.
Olawepo urged the people to always use seatbelts and avoid distraction such as use of phones, while driving, as well as drugs and alcohol.
He also urged the government to provide safe roads for road transport throughout the country.
He appealed tom the government to also overhaul railway transportation, while promoting it as alternative means of transportation in the country.
“Besides, there is need for permanent relocation of people who live in the flood prone areas of the country to safer grounds.
“The burden of trauma is enormous, morbidity associated with COVID-19 is evidently milder than the morbidity from trauma.
“With an annual global trauma mortality figure of over 6 million, compared with less than 2 million for COVID-19, medical collaboration and resources should be globally deployed to the prevention and treatment of trauma,” he said.