Experts gather to exchange knowledge to scale up lifesaving violence and injury prevention efforts
5 NOVEMBER 2018 | Bangkok, Thailand – Violence and injuries take the lives of more than 13000 people around the world each day. In an effort to prevent them, experts gather for Safety 2018 to share the latest evidence and experiences from programmes which have demonstrated success in saving lives.
Injuries caused by violence, road traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns and poisoning, among others, kill nearly 5 million people every year, accounting for 9% of the world’s deaths. These and other injury-related causes are among the many topics addressed by Safety 2018 under the theme “Advancing violence and injury prevention to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
Globally, of injury-related deaths, 29% are due to road traffic crashes; 16% from suicide; 13% from falls; 10% from homicide; and 7% from drowning. Around 4% of injury-related deaths result from war and conflict. Violence and injuries affect people of all ages, but most often impact young people and those in their prime working years. For young adults 15-29 years of age, the top three causes of death are injury-related: road traffic injuries, suicide and homicide.
Beyond deaths tens of millions of people suffer injuries that lead to hospitalization, emergency department visits, and treatment by general practitioners. Many are left with temporary or permanent disabilities.
“Urgent action is needed to avoid this unnecessary suffering of millions of families every year,” notes Dr Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO Department for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention. “We know what needs to be done. Safety 2018 provides an opportunity for the world’s leading violence and injury prevention researchers, practitioners and advocates to share successful strategies which if scaled up across countries could save lives.”
Preventing violence and injuries will further attainment of the SDGs and WHO’s General Programme of Work (GPW) 2019-2023. A number of SDG targets relate specifically to violence and injuries, including targets 3.6 to cut road traffic deaths by 50% by 2020; target 5.2 to end violence against women and girls; target 11.2 to provide safe and sustainable transport; and target 16.2 to end violence against children. Targets on violence prevention and road safety are also included in WHO’s GPW.
Effective strategies to prevent violence and injuries are reflected in three technical packages produced by WHO and partners in recent years, among them INSPIRE: seven strategies for ending violence against children; SaveLIVES: a road safety technical package and Preventing drowning: an implementation guide. These tools are intended to guide governments and civil society organizations on how to put in place what works.
Among effective strategies to prevent violence and injuries include setting and enforcing laws on a range of issues from speeding and smoke detectors to hot water tap temperatures and window guards; reducing the availability and harmful use of alcohol; limiting access to firearms, knives, pesticides and certain medications to prevent suicide; implementing vehicle and safety equipment standards; installing barriers controlling access to water, including wells and swimming pools; and improving emergency trauma care. These are all strategies where both national and local government officials from across multiple sectors can play a role.
In the context of Safety 2018, WHO is also launching two new tools: the WHO International Registry for Trauma and Emergency Care and the Basic Emergency Care course, which will support countries to better understand the challenges they face in responding to those who have been injured and to train those who care for them.
WHO violence and injury prevention
INSPIRE: seven strategies for ending violence against children
SaveLIVES: a road safety technical package
Preventing drowning: an implementation guide
WHO International Registry for Trauma and Emergency Care
WHO Basic Emergency Care Course