French President Jacques Chirac to head key Paris event
For the first time in the history of the Organization, WHO has dedicated World Health Day 2004 to “Road Safety”. People in more than 100 countries are hosting hundreds of World Health Day events. These range from a road safety festival in Lebanon to theatre performances in public parks for children in Brazil and from a helmet fashion show in Viet Nam to the inauguration of a remembrance garden for victims in South Africa. Others events include conferences and seminars, award ceremonies, and the launch of road safety campaigns and a multi-million dollar international research programme on injury prevention.
Hosted by WHO and the Government of France, the key global World Health Day event takes place in Paris today as France has typified the approach WHO and the World Bank are advocating. A combination of political will and effective action reduced the deaths on the roads in France by 20% in 2003, saving 1,500 lives and preventing thousands of injuries. The event takes place at the Centre de conférences internationales Kléber with the participation of Dr LEE Jong-wook, WHO Director-General; Mr Jacques Chirac, President of France; Ministers of Health from the Czech Republic, France, Ghana and Nicaragua; Ministers of Transport from France, Oman, Slovakia and the United States of America; and 300 representatives of some of the world’s leading road safety organizations such as the Association for Safe International Road Travel (United States of America), the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society (United Kingdom), the Ligue contre la Violence Routière (France), the Swedish National Road Administration (Sweden) and the World Bank. This high-profile event will be the occasion for the global release of the World report on road traffic injury prevention.
On 14 April as an immediate follow up to World Health Day, the UN General Assembly will devote a session to discuss road safety for the very first time in its history.
“At the occasion of World Health Day 2004 WHO is ringing the alarm bell to draw attention to this global crisis. From small victim associations to the UN General Assembly, from governments to the private sector, the global response is huge. World Health Day will allow us to unite and take important additional steps towards ending the carnage on the world’s roads,” said Dr Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO’s Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention.