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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: hadley kh wesson

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:

Burns are the source of a significant number of pediatric injuries, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Within developing countries—where 90% of pediatric burn injuries occur—the WHO-defined African region has the highest rate of pediatric burn-related deaths. In the upper-middle income country South Africa, the rate is five-times higher than other upper-middle income countries, with a rate of burns at 2.8 per 100,000 children. The lack of data available on pediatric burns in LMICs, however, is a significant hindrance in efforts to address this burden.

Recently, members of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU), including associate directors Abdulgafoor Bachani and Kent Stevens published study in Injury that examined the trends in injuries over a 15-year period in Cape Town, South Africa.

The study, led by JH-IIRU post-doctoral fellow Hadley K H Wesson, used data collected by Childsafe South Africa from the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCH) trauma registry in Cape Town between 1995-2009. The data focused on children under the age of 13 who presented in the hospital’s casualty department with burn injuries.

Among the team’s findings, results suggested that attention should be placed on male children under five with scald burns received in the home environment. The significance of this study lies in the ability to use data to support additional studies, inform policy and implement targeted interventions to reduce the burden on childhood burn injuries globally.

“Pediatric Burn Injuries in South Africa: A 15-Year Analysis of Hospital Data,” will appear in the upcoming issue of Injury. More information is available here:

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