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Medical News & Perspectives
June 2, 2004

Global Road Safety Crisis Remedy Sought

JAMA. 2004;291(21):2531-2532. doi:10.1001/jama.291.21.2531

For many individuals living in rural Africa, there is no safe way to travel.

In Malawi, for example, a bus ticket, even for minibuses that cram 2 dozen riders and their baggage into a vehicle built to seat nine, is priced out of reach for many rural Malawians. So travelers turn to less expensive alternatives, such as walking or open-bed pickup trucks that operate like taxis .

"Passengers jump in the back of the pickup, give the driver some money, and jump out when they get where they want to go," says Thomas J. Vitaglione, MPH, a senior fellow at the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute, who spent time in Malawi last year to assist with an orphan care project that he helped to establish in 1995.