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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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Keyword: bloomberg philanthropies

Every day, more than 32 children between the ages of 1-4 die in Bangladesh due to drowning. That's more than 12,000 children a year. In fact, while the mortality rates of childhood diseases like diarrhea or malaria have decreased, in large part due to disease prevention and nutritional interventions, the rate of child drowning has increased, especially in low-income countries like Bangladesh, because there has not been a similar investment in prevention. It's not surprising, then, that drowning is the leading cause of death for this age group in the country. But drowning, like most unintentional injuries, is a preventable cause of death.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) is committed to reducing the burden of child injuries around the world. That's why, on February 27, 2014, JH-IIRU joined Bloomberg Philanthropies in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to launch the Drowning Prevention Project, a $10 million initiative aimed at identifying scalable drowning interventions in this low-lying South Asian country.

As part of this project, JH-IIRU will work in collaboration with the International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) and the Center for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh (CIPRB), to initiate the Saving of Lives from Drowning (SoLiD) in Bangladesh. SoLiD is an implementation study that has been established to test the effectiveness of two interventions to prevent and reduce the burden of childhood drowning in Bangladesh. The interventions will be implemented along with family education and community awareness on drowning prevention.

Adnan A. Hyder, MD, MPH, PhD, director of JH-IIRU, will lead a team that will directly address two major factors in preventable child drowning deaths in a country where 7% of its surface is covered in water-lack of supervision and easy access to water. The project will test two interventions: community daycare centers (sometimes referred to as "crèches" or "anchals") playpens. Attendance in crèches during the period when drowning injury is most likely to occur reduces the risk of drowning by both supervising the child and removing the child from the hazard. Similarly, playpens, which will be locally manufactured, restrict child mobility, thus creating a barrier between the child and the hazard. They are also an aid to adult supervision, which, in turn, minimizes exposure to the risk of drowning.

The goal of the project is to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions for 80,000 children, 1-4 years of age over a two-year period.

"The rate of drowning for young children in Bangladesh is alarming," said Hyder. "It is imperative that we explore the feasibility of appropriate and cost-effective drowning prevention interventions for child survival."

"This project represents a tremendous opportunity for continuing to improve child health care in Bangladesh and is a strong commitment to injury research," said Olakunle Alonge, assistant scientist in JH-IIRU and program manager for SoLiD.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is also supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) to publish an evidence-based global report on drowning prevention later this year and provide expert guidance on effective strategies to combat this burgeoning epidemic and save thousands of lives.

More information here

On February 12th, as part of the effort to draw attention to the growing burden of road traffic injuries, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will launch “Global Road Safety: Updates from Ten Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” a special issue of Injury. The launch will coincide with a noontime seminar at the Bloomberg School in Baltimore which features panelists from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Road traffic injuries (RTIs) account for nearly 1.24 deaths each year, with an additional 20 to 50 million people injured or disabled. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), the rate of RTIs is twice as high as in developed nations. Today, RTIs are the 8th leading cause of death globally, and if no action is taken, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that they will jump to the 5th leading cause by 2030. Moreover, the economic losses associated with road traffic deaths are just as devastating, costing LMICs an estimated $100 billion every year. While these statistics are shocking, the impact of road traffic crashes is often overlooked as a serious disease burden.

The JH-IIRU is dedicated to reducing those rates of road traffic injuries around the world. Led by Dr. Adnan A. Hyder, in 2010, JH-IIRU joined a consortium of six partners, including the WHO, the Global Road Safety Partnership, ASIRT, EMBARQ and the World Bank, to evaluate and implement road safety solutions in ten countries that account for nearly half (48%) of all traffic deaths globally. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program is a five-year undertaking generously funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and dedicated to evaluating and implementing road safety solutions where they are needed most.  

The goal of the Road Safety Program is to save lives by providing evidence for stronger road safety interventions around the world.  It is equally important, however, to increase awareness of the devastating impact of road traffic injuries.  For this reason, JH-IIRU has published its second special issue.  “Global Road Safety: Updates from Ten Low- and Middle-Income Countries.”  This new supplement features 12 scientific papers jointly authored by nearly 50 JH-IIRU colleagues and collaborators from 30 institutions and organizations within the participating countries. The issue presents findings from the ongoing monitoring and evaluation activities in all ten countries, as well as an examination of the trauma component of the program. It highlights the mixed methods approach of data collection and showcases both the successes as well as the challenges of collecting such data in real-world settings.

“These papers are an important step in building the evidence-base on injury control and road safety in LMICs and demonstrates the promise of mixed-methods research in our understanding of what works in many different contexts for both prevention and treatment of RTIs,” said Hyder.

The supplemental issue is also part of the commitment of the partners in the Global Road Safety Program to share knowledge, provide access to progressive results and stimulate further dialogue on road traffic injury prevention and control in developing countries—something Dr. Hyder sees as vitally important.

“The amount of research done on road safety in LMICs is not proportional to the burden of injury in these countries,” said Hyder. “In the most recent Cochrane review on road safety interventions, only 2.5% of the trails utilized were conducted in LMICs. And all only focused on a single intervention—helmet wearing! It is imperative that we shine a spotlight on the under-recognized burden of road traffic injuries.”

While road safety issues have recently begun garnering more attention, much more work is needed. This special issue brings to light the under-recognized burden of road traffic injuries even as it represents important strides in road safety research.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit gratefully acknowledges Bloomberg Philanthropies for their support, as well as that of our in-country collaborators and consortium partners.

For more information on the seminar, click here.

For more information on the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program, visit the JH-IIRU website: http://www.jhsph.edu/iiru/index.html

To access the special issue, visit the Injury website at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00201383/44/supp/S4

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) is currently working with a consortium of partners on the Road Safety in 10 Countries Project (RS-10), an initiative that aims to improve road safety in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The project, which is funded with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the World Health Organization, is evaluating and implementing road safety solutions where they are needed most.

Dr. Kelly Henning, head of global health programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies, recently visited India, one of the 10 targeted countries, to promote two important programs: The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco and the Bloomberg Global Road Safety Program. The Bloomberg Global Road Safety Program is a five-year, $125 million effort to reverse global deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes. Program partners, including JH-IIRU, are supporting countries like India to strengthen and implement proven solutions through key legislation on motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, drinking and driving, and speed; improving sustainable urban transport; incorporating safety in road infrastructure projects; and, monitoring and evaluating traffic-related deaths, injuries and policy effectiveness.

To read the full article, click here:

To learn more about the Global Road Safety Program, please visit http://www.mikebloomberg.com/

To learn more about JH-IIRU and the RS-10 Project, click here or contact us at IIRU@jhsph.edu

In September 2011, the Sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly acknowledged Bloomberg Philanthropies’ donation of US$ 125 million to improve global road safety. This contribution has supported the implementation of a five-year project in 10 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to prevent road traffic injuries, which coincides with the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. The multi-million dollar contribution is considered the largest donation to global road safety by far.The recipients of the donation represent a global consortium on road safety. Since 2009, The Johns Hopkins University International Injuries Research Unit (JH-IIRU) has partnered with five other international institutions: the World Health Organization, the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility, the Global Road Safety Commitment, EMBARQ - the World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport, and the Association for Safe International Road Travel. To date JH-IIRU has closely monitored road safety interventions in each RS-10 country and collected several rounds of primary data as regards targeted risk factors: motorcycle helmet use, seatbelt and child restraint use, speeding and drunk driving.

The latest edition of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s magazine examines the “20 great research challenges for the new decade.” Due to increasing attention from world leaders, as well as recent groundbreaking research, international road safety tops the list.

Throughout the article, Dr. Adnan Hyder discusses the International Injury Research Unit’s role in a new large-scale global road safety project funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies. Over the next five years, the project will determine the effectiveness of specific road safety interventions in 10 low and middle-income countries.

Emphasizing the need for strong support and active collaboration from local community leaders at each of the 10 sites, Dr. Hyder stated, “Education alone has not been found to make huge impacts in the absence of specific interventions and law enforcement, so enforcement is key.”

Click here to read the full article.

Magazine

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health features "Death on the Road" as one of the 20 great research challenges this decade.

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