Violence and injuries account for 1 in 11 deaths worldwide

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.

 

Related links

Safety 2018

http://www.worldsafety2018.org/

WHO violence and injury prevention

http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/en/

INSPIRE: seven strategies for ending violence against children

http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/inspire-package/en/

 SaveLIVES: a road safety technical package

http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road_traffic/save-lives-package/en/

 Preventing drowning: an implementation guide

http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/drowning/drowning_prevention_guide/en

WHO International Registry for Trauma and Emergency Care

http://www.who.int/emergencycare/en/

WHO Basic Emergency Care Course

http://www.who.int/emergencycare/en/

Universal emergency care could soon be a reality

Kenyans will soon be able to access emergency care services at any hospital in the country, a Ministry of Health official has said.

According to the head of the division of health emergencies and disaster risk management Dr Simon Kibias, the ministry will soon launch the Emergency Care Policy 2018 – 2030, to boost universal access to emergency medical care.

 

Access to emergency services an uphill task despite tough laws

 

Both the Constitution 2010 and the Health Act 2017 state that nobody should be denied emergency medical treatment.

This includes pre-hospital care, stabilising the patient, and arranging for referral in cases where the health provider of first call does not have the facilities necessary to stabilise the patient.

Emergency treatment, according to the African Federation for Emergency Medicine, is the provision of initial resuscitation, stabilisation, and treatment to acutely ill and injured patients, and delivery of those patients to the best available definitive care, regardless of ability to pay.

 

“More accident and emergency centres are required”, President Kenyatta

President Kenyatta takes action after a secret visit to KNH (Courtesy)

President Uhuru Kenyatta has taken action after he made a secret visit to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH)

The president who was speaking to the team tasked with regenerating Nairobi city co-chaired by Governor Mike Sonko and Tourism CS Najib Balala revealed that he made an anonymous visit to the National hospital and the state of the accidents and emergency centre was wanting.

He added that the center experiences too much pressure and more emergency centres are required in the city.

“More accident and emergency centres are required. You have to get these centres working,” said the President.

 

What does the law say about emergency medical treatment in Kenya?

  • Medical institutions that fail to provide health care services necessary to prevent and manage the damaging health effects due to an emergency situation are culpable.
  • Facilities that have systems that are inappropriately designed and invariably cause a patient deserving of emergency medical treatment not to receive such treatment, are also culpable.
  • Hospitals that prioritize monetary security prior to admission can also be held in violation of the Constitution as well as the Kenya National Patients’ Rights Charter.
  • The liability of the government arises from its duties as stipulated in the Constitution as well as sections 15 and 112 of the Health Act. Where the government thus fails to enact policies; mobilize financial resources, regulate, train and accredit emergency care providers or ensure compliance with already existing guidelines by medical institutions, then it is liable in law. This, must, of course, be done in consultation with county governments and other stakeholders in the health sector acknowledging that health is now a devolved function.