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Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit

A World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Injuries, Violence and Accident Prevention

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Drowning is a leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 in Bangladesh. To help address the problem,Dr. Adnan Hyder, director of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, and his colleague, Dr. Alain Labrique, assistant professor in International Health, are pilot testing the functionality and acceptability of a personal wireless alarm device for toddlers. The latest special technology issue of Johns Hopkins Public Health highlights the work Drs. Hyder and Labrique are doing with the Safety Turtle "gadget" and how the device might be used to save thousands of lives every year. Click here to read the article.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit will begin a new research project in rural Bangladesh this year that aims to study the acceptability of using wireless alarm systems in the prevention of drowning. Alain Labrique, assistant professor in the Department of International Health, and Dr. Adnan Hyder, director of the Unit, will lead the six-month project. Dr. Labrique received a Faculty Innovations Fund award from the Bloomberg School to support this research.

Unintentional injuries are the biggest killer of children ages 1-15 in Bangladesh and drowning presents the greatest risk. For children ages 1-4, drowning accounts for 20 percent of childhood mortality and causes 46 child deaths every day.

Water hazards like ponds and rivers surround many homes, so behavioral solutions such as playpens and swimming education have limited effect in the region. The Unit’s work, therefore, will center on studying a new solution – wireless alarm systems. Specifically, Dr. Labrique and Dr. Hyder will test the Safety Turtle from Terrapin Communications to evaluate its acceptability and functionality in rural Bangladesh. The Safety Turtle can be worn around a child’s wrist or ankle and will sound an alarm when immersed in water.

For decades, leaders have struggled to identify effective strategies to prevent drowning in rural, resource-poor settings. The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit is excited to examine whether this technology can offer a new solution to this persistent public health problem.

The study will be performed at the JiVitA research site in Bangladesh and will be maintained by co-investigators from the Johns Hopkins Center for Human Nutrition. For more information about this project, or to inquire about other work in drowning, please contact the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit congratulates two of its affiliated faculty members on their recent research accomplishments.

Dr. Alain Labrique, an assistant professor with the Department of International Health and the Department of Epidemiology, recently co-authored a paper entitled, “Epidemiology of tornado destruction in rural northern Bangladesh: risk factors for death and injury." Likely the first study to investigate the risk factors for tornado-related injuries in South Asia, the results indicate that further analysis is needed to develop injury prevention strategies. There is also a clear need to address the disparities in risk among various groups such as the elderly. For more information about this research, please click here.

Dr. Hafizur Rahman, an assistant scientist with the Department of International Health, recently co-authored a paper entitled, "Assessment of Lithuanian trauma care service using a conceptual framework for assessing the performance of health system.” Injuries are the number one public health problem in Lithuania. According to the study, the Lithuanian trauma sector does not do enough to reduce the burden of injuries in the country. Lack of adequate funding, leadership and policy, the authors suggest, requires a significant change. For more information about this research, please click here.

The Unit applauds both studies for making important strides in the area of injury research.

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