More than 5 million deaths are caused by injuries globally each year, resulting in devastating social and economic costs. These costs are especially high in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where health systems are struggling to prioritize injuries as a significant health concern. In LMICs, the economic losses associated with road traffic injuries (RTIs) alone are estimated to be $100 billion annually.
Given the devastating extent of this burden, there is an urgent need to push injury prevention to the forefront of public health initiatives and to understand the costs associated with injury, yet there is a lack of injury-related economic evidence from LMICs.
This is the conclusion JH-IIRU team members, including Hadley KH Wesson and associate director, Abdulgafoor M. Bachani, reached in their recent publication, “The cost of injury and trauma care in low- and middle-income countries: A review of economic evidence,” in the journal Health Policy and Planning.
The goals of the paper are to 1) summarize the body of economic evidence on injury in LMICs; 2) assess the quality of cost-effectiveness studies using standard methods to highlight the role of economic data as a tool for injury-prevention advocacy; and 3) to provide recommendations regarding economic evaluations in LMICs.
The study found that while there are a relatively significant number of studies exploring the costs of injuries or hospitalizations due to injury in LMICs, a small fraction were complete economic studies, making it difficult to generalize costs of injury at regional or global levels. Despite the study’s limitations, the economic burden of injury is unquestionable and low-cost interventions such as traffic enforcement, installation of speed bumps, motorcycle helmet legislation and drowning prevention programs, are possible with support and investment from stakeholders and policy-makers.
Access the full study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24097794