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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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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 “Expert Consultation on Motorcyclist Injury Prevention in the Americas” was held at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on 15-16 November 2011. The meeting was co-hosted by PAHO, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Johns Hopkins University International Injury Research Unit (IIRU). Dr. Abdul Bachani, the associate director for training and capacity development, and Jeffrey Lunnen, research program coordinator, attended the meeting on behalf of the unit.

Experts from nine countries in the region, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Venezuela, attended the meeting to discuss the emerging issue of motorcycle-related injuries in the Americas. Participants from organizations such as EMBARQ, the Inter-American Development Bank, Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health, and the Universidade de São Paulo analyzed current interventions from several sectors designed and implemented to address this issue. A draft document to summarize the group’s main recommendations is expected to be developed by PAHO. Upon the completion of the drafting of these recommendations, a policy brief and regional strategy will be developed. For more information please contact: Jlunnen@jhsph.edu.

PAHO_motorcycle_conf
Participants at the two-day experts' meeting on motorcycle-related injuries in the Americas co-hosted by PAHO, WHO and IIRU.
Photo rights belong to PAHO.

Dr. Adnan Hyder, director of the International Injury Research Unit, was featured today during the Pan American Health Organization’s long-anticipated release of the Regional Report on Road Safety. Dr. Hyder spoke about the economic as well as the social costs of global road injuries, citing research that makes the case for cost-effective interventions.

The Regional Report on Road Safety surveyed 30 of the 34 countries in the Americas and gives leaders in the region a much-needed clearer picture not only of road safety data, but also of the interventions that are currently in place. Solutions such as speed control, alcohol laws, helmet use and seat belt enforcement are included in the analysis. Overall, the report revealed large variances in road injuries among countries, demonstrating the need for highly customized and locally supported solutions.

Today’s meeting, held at PAHO’s headquarters in Washington, DC, also featured prominent guests such as Mirta Roses Periago, director of PAHO, and Nancy Carter-Foster, senior advisor for global health at the US Department of Health.

PAHO is an international public health agency that has worked for more than 100 years to improve the health and living standards of the countries of the Americas. As global leaders enter the “Decade of Action for Road Safety,” which began this year, the report urges implementation of policies that promote safe, healthy and equitable movement on roads throughout the Americas.

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Dr. Adnan Hyder, director of the International Injury Research Unit, presents findings at the release of PAHO’s Regional Report on Road Safety.

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