Home / At Breaking Point: Understanding the Impact of Musculoskeletal Injuries in Low- and Middle- Income Countries

At Breaking Point: Understanding the Impact of Musculoskeletal Injuries in Low- and Middle- Income Countries

An Economist Intelligence Unit report

A new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit has just been released, examining the increasing burden of injuries in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Despite great advances in high-income countries in trauma care and accident prevention, fractures still remain the most common non-fatal injuries across the world, with over 80 percent of injury-related deaths occuring in LMICs.

At Breaking Point: Understanding the Impact of Musculoskeletal Injuries in Low- and Middle- Income Countries, a report sponsored by the AO Alliance and AO Foundation, estimates the annual impact of injuries in LMICs as costing USD 180.2 billion in 2016 alone. It also posits that 4.8 billion people worldwide do not have timely access to safe, affordable surgery and over two billion people have no access to surgery and anaesthesia.

According to Dr Florent Anicet Lekina, trauma surgeon in Yaoundé and AO Alliance Coordinator for Francophone Africa, “injuries cause major social and economic impact. Poor people who walk and use motorbikes have the most accidents and they have no money to be treated… (in) most cases (they) become handicapped for life as they did not get the right treatment. It’s a very serious problem”.

The implication of this report is clear, injuries are a neglected epidemic not only at the national level in LMICs, but also at the global health community level. This injury burden is increasing. Patients continue to die due to a lack of access to effective facility-based trauma care, and much of the disability resulting from injuries in these regions could be prevented through cost-effective improvements in rehabilitation and treatment, as well as the implementation of injury prevention measures.

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