Earlier in the month, we were at the Safety 2018 conference in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference is a bi-annual conference bringing together experts from the field of violence and injury prevention. This year the conference, organized by the World Health Organization in partnership with the Government of Thailand culminating in the Bangkok Declaration. At the event, we took place in a special "State of the Art Session" on road safety for children and young people as well as having a presence with booth materials.
Violence and injuries take the lives of more than 13,000 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)”.
This year Manpreet Darroch of YOURS attended the conference.
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.
YOURS involvement in Safety 2018
Prior to the Safety 2018 conference, several pre-conference events took place which we participated in. Including the World Health Organization (WHO) focal point meeting where Manpreet presented the concept of the World Youth Assembly to take place at the Third Ministerial Conference in Sweden 2020.
We also participated in the Safe Kids Worldwide event in collaboration with the Child Injury Prevention Alliance (CIPA) - Child Injury Prevention and the Sustainable Development Goals.
During the event, Manpreet Darroch presented in a special "State of the Art Session on Road Safety" where we presented on meaningful youth participation in road safety and success stories. In particular, we drawed attention to perceptions of young people in road safety with a need to shift the paradigm on seeing young people as assets to road safety instead of problem road users;
Manpreet explaining the concepts and principles behind the YOURS Capacity Development Programme.
Additionally, YOURS had a presence in the exhibition sections across the conference with banners at the Child Injury Prevention Alliance (CIPA) stand and leaflets at the World Health Organization booth.