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World Bank Report Says Africa Needs To Address Road Traffic Injuries, NCDs

A new report from the World Bank shows that an increasing number of road traffic injuries (RTIs) and rising rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) “both represent largely hidden epidemics in Africa,” according to the paper’s authors, The Guardian reports (Balch, 8/5). The report’s summary states “[t]he data show that action against NCDs and RTIs in sub-Saharan Africa is needed, together with continued efforts to address communicable diseases and maternal and child health as well as to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” (6/1). Most public health spending and donor aid is going to infectious diseases, specifically malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, creating “vertical” systems, The Guardian notes, adding, “The authors of the World Bank report argue that this silo approach is often counterproductive and coordinated health programs are needed” (8/5). “[T]he report argues that proven, cost-effective, prevention interventions are needed, many of which (such as tobacco and alcohol taxes, road safety measures, and fuel-efficient ventilated cookstoves) require action beyond the health sector,” according to a post in the World Bank’s “Investing in Health” blog. “These can deliver broader development benefits in addition to their benefits for health,” the blog adds (Marquez, 7/22).