Mental Health, Violence and Injuries remain a major challenge to public health in the region. In addition to the numerous armed conflicts that plague the African region, there is also a high burden from interpersonal violence, especially amongst young men. Gender based violence and child abuse remain a serious challenge.

In 2002, Road Traffic Injuries were the 4th leading cause of death among adults. Road traffic injuries and violence combined were only second to HIV/AIDS as a cause of death among persons aged 15 to 60 years. There were an estimated 3658 deaths per week in the African region in 2002, giving a rate of 28.3 road traffic deaths per 100,000 population, and making traffic injuries the 10th leading cause of death in the region.

Physical, mental, and sensory disabilities continue to be major problems for the region. There are an estimated 9 million cases of blindness in sub-Saharan Africa and a further 27 million people are visually impaired. This represents the highest regional burden of blindness ratio in the world. The number of blind in the African region is likely to increase to double by 2020 unless measures are taken to counter the problem. The implementation of Vision 2020: the Right to Sight has been very slow, and targets will not be met at the current pace.

The key challenges being addressed are:

  • Lack of data on the magnitude, causes, and consequences of all types of disabilities (physical, sensory and mental).
  • Lack of policies on this group of health problems. There are often no strategies for prevention, and few or no resources for prevention or management programs.
  • Poor prevention efforts result in high direct and indirect costs: high health care costs (about 50% of surgical beds in some countries are for road traffic injuries), lost productivity, premature deaths.
  • Lack of motivation to address the problems associated with violence, injuries and disabilities and to track their impact.

For more information please contact:

NkomoDr. Da Gama Nkomo
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel.: +47241 39593