Objective: The United Nations have proclaimed the "Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020" to reduce traffic fatalities worldwide, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It is estimated that the LMICs in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have the highest traffic fatality rates. This study evaluated the capacity of current traffic fatality reporting in the EMR to indicate the impact of future interventions.
Methods: The World Health Organization's (WHO) SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) criteria for indicators were used to assess traffic fatality reporting in the 17 LMICs in the EMR.
Results: Official statistics accounted for less than 60 percent of estimated fatalities in 12 of the 17 EMR countries. Police data were the main source of reporting for 11 LMICs, only 3 had a specific traffic fatality surveillance system, the standard definition of fatality was used for 7 LMICs, local fatality distributions were available for 5 LMICs, multiple data sets were available for 6 LMICs, and only 7 regularly published fatality data.
Conclusions: These reporting problems could easily undermine the evaluation of any future preventive efforts in the EMR. International cooperation and financial assistance from experienced high-income countries, focusing on building capacity, might be useful in strengthening the current reporting systems in LMICs in the EMR.