Death on the road to international development

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 21 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:972
  1. Ian Roberts, professor of epidemiology and population health (
  1. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    We don't know much about her. All we know is that in 2003 a small Tanzanian girl died after having been run over by a truck, a truck belonging to a company managed by CDC (formerly the Commonwealth Development Corporation, and now wholly owned by the Department for International Development of the UK government). According to CDC records the girl did not die at the scene, but “following poor care she died in the hospital 3dayslater.”

    CDC's mission is to create wealth in emerging markets, particularly poorer countries, by investing in “sustainable” private sector businesses. In 2003 CDC made a pretax profit of £45m ($85m; €65m), some £15.6m of which was made from its investment in Africa.

    Last year I gave a lunchtime seminar on road safety to CDC managers. Before the seminar I was given a summary of the fatal “accidents” attributable to CDC managed businesses in 2003. The Tanzanian girl was not the only child to have died on the road to international development in 2003. The same year a two year old …

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