Karnataka has the second-most dangerous roads in south India, killing thousands each year, according to a new study that chronicled how road death situation has deteriorated in the world's largest democracy in the last 27 years.
A second study documents how almost every type of mental illness is widely prevalent in Karnataka that outperformed the national average in six out of ten categories of psychological disorders.
Both studies are part of the Lancet Global Burden of Disease series that analysed all existing research to find out the trends in road injuries and mental disorders in every Indian state.
In 2017, Karnataka has a death rate of 16.9 per 100,000 population, which is only next to Tamil Nadu (20.0) in the south. Other southern states – Andhra Pradesh (15.8), Telangana (14.4), Kerala (14.0) and Goa (11.1) fare better.
Nearly three decades ago, the road situation was different. While Tamil Nadu still topped the chart, Karnataka roads were safer than Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Kerala. The only state better than Karnataka in south India in 1990 was Goa.
On a national scale, Uttarakhand had the most deadly roads (26.3 deaths per 100,000 people) followed by Punjab (22.9). But to be fair to the Himalayan state, it improved its roads a lot since 1990 when it recorded a death count of 35.7.
The national average stood at 17.2 in 2017 – a marginal improvement from 19.5 in 1990, said the findings published in the Lancet Public Health on Monday.
With 2.2 lakh road injury deaths in India in 2017, it was the leading cause of premature death among young males in India and the second leading cause for males and females combined. Pedestrians and motorcyclists accounted for more than half of all road injury deaths in India, higher than the global average.
“The rate of the global decline of road injury deaths is 29% whereas for India it is only 9%. The decline is minimal,” Rakhi Dandona, a professor at the Public Health Foundation of India, Gurugram and one of the authors of the Lancet paper told DH.
About 197 million persons, roughly one in seven Indians, suffered from mental disorders of varying severity in 2017 of whom 46 million had depression and 45 million anxiety disorders, noted the second GBD study published in the Lancet Psychiatry on Monday.
The mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, idiopathic developmental intellectual disability, conduct disorders, eating disorders and autism.
The prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders – the two commonest mental disorders - is on the rise across India and is relatively higher in the well-to-do southern states and in females, says the study conducted by ICMR, PHFI and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.