Injuries are preventable – but often neglected in global health efforts

Injuries are one of the top three causes of death for people between the ages of 5 and 44 worldwide. More than 90% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In addition to the millions of deaths that result from injuries, tens of millions of people suffer injuries that lead to hospitalization. Those who survive acts of violence or road traffic crashes are often left with disabilities. All injuries, but particularly child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and sexual violence, have been shown to have a range of other health consequences such as depression, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

Injuries and violence have been neglected from the global health agenda for many years, despite being predictable and largely preventable. Evidence from many countries shows that dramatic successes in prevention can be achieved through concerted efforts that involve, but are not limited to, the health sector.

The international community must work with governments and civil society around the world to implement proven measures and reduce the unnecessary loss of life that occurs each day as a result of injuries and violence. In this regard, the efforts of the Peercorps Network – in engaging community leaders, researchers, and community-based organizations across four continents, is especially promising in raising a critical mass that speaks with a unified voice.

The World Health Organization is committed to advancing injury prevention by working with and supporting countries and partners – including civil society – to do so.  

Dr. Alexander Butchart
Coordinator, Prevention of Violence
Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability
World Health Organization
Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. Alexander Butchart
Dr. Alexander Butchart

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