the issue Nelson Mandela urged his granddaughter to pursue

“His message to me was that I was not the only one who had lost children. There are so many people, and this is our reality,” she said. “And his message was… I had to give hope to the hopeless. Because children are not only vulnerable, they have to take their own lives in their own hands every day just because they are seeking an education.”

Ms Mandela, the global ambassador for the child health initiative, was in Bangkok to launch a new global toolkit to get children safely to school.

Progress on reducing deaths and injuries on the roads had stalled globally, said Dr Etienne Krug, the director of the World Health Organisation’s Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence.

Despite the United Nations’ pledge to cut road deaths by half, Dr Krug said “we still not have even noticed a decrease”.


He echoed the criticism made by Australian road safety experts, who say there is complacency about deaths and injuries on the roads.

“Where is the outrage when a child dies on the way to school just because there was no sidewalk?” he asked the conference. “Where is the outrage when a boat capsizes because it was overloaded?”

The George Institute for Global Health’s Dr Margie Peden said the new toolkit provided practical, step-by-step guidance on how to implement best practices. It includes recommendations to provide pedestrian crossings, slow speeds, better-defined footpaths and better planning so children don’t enter and exit schools on to a main road.

“There are simple, affordable solutions that can be put in place to reduce these risks,’ said Dr Margie Peden, head of the global injuries program at the George Institute for Global Health.

“We have evidence on what works from around the world, and this toolkit provides practical, step-by-step guidance on how to implement some of these best practices.”

Ms Mandela said little progress had been made on reducing the death toll.

“We are losing the battle, and we are causing our children to suffer the most. Will they implement them, or will they fail our children over and over again?” she said.

The toolkit, part of the Child Health Initiative (CHI), was developed by the FIA Foundation and the George Institute for Global Health in collaboration with CHI partners.

Julie Power travelled to Thailand on a journalism fellowship provided by the Australasian Injury Prevention Network.

Julie Power is a reporter for Fairfax Media

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