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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: road traffic injuries

This month, JH-IIRU published its second special issue, “Global Road Safety: Updates from Ten Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” in Injury. This supplemental issue, which features 12 scientific papers jointly authored by nearly 50 JH-IIRU colleagues and collaborators from 30 institutions and organizations within the participating countries, presents findings from the ongoing monitoring and evaluation activities in the ten participating countries, and includes an evaluation 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.  

Road traffic injuries (RTIs) account for nearly 1.24 million deaths each year, with 92% occurring in low- and middle-income countries.  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 low- and middle-income countries 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.

In an effort to reduce these unacceptable rates of road traffic injuries, in 2010, JH-IIRU joined a consortium of six partners, including the World Health Organization, the Global Road Safety Partnership, the Association for Safe International Road Travel, EMBARQ and the World Bank to evaluate and implement road safety solutions in 10 countries that account for nearly half (48%) of all traffic deaths globally. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program (formerly the Road Safety in 10 Countries Project, or RS10) is a five-year initiative that draws on support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the World Health Organization to evaluate and implement road safety solutions where they are needed most.

In 2012, JH-IIRU published its first special issue, “Public Health Burden of Road Traffic Injuries: An Assessment from Ten Low and Middle Income Countries,” in Traffic Injury Prevention, which highlighted new and aggregate data collected and analyzed in the 10 participating countries during the first two years of the Global Road Safety Program. These 11 scientific papers served as a foundation for the monitoring and evaluation work of the entire project.

The goal of the Global Road Safety Program is to save lives by providing evidence for stronger road safety interventions around the world.  By generating new knowledge and providing important data on proven interventions such as seatbelt- and helmet-wearing, reducing speeding and eliminating drunk driving, JH-IIRU hopes to encourage key decision makers to develop policies and solutions that will save lives.

JH-IIRU is thankful to all who contributed, especially Bloomberg Philanthropies for their generous support. Hyder said.

The newest special issue can be found here:

The previous special issue can be found here:

Stakeholders and decision makers across health and allied sectors must play a key role in developing and implementing innovative solutions to road traffic injuries and trauma care, especially in developing nations, according to recommendations published in a new report developed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The report was issued as part of an international health summit held in Doha, Qatar on December 10.

"Road Injuries and Trauma Care: Innovations for Policy," written by professor of International Health and director of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU), Adnan Hyder, together with JH-IIRU faculty Prasanthi Puvanachandra and doctoral student Kate Allen, identified the best available evidence, good practices and promising innovations emerging around the world on road traffic injury prevention and trauma care.  Developed with a team of global experts, including colleagues from the World Health Organization, The Global Road Safety Partnership, private sector and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the report was released as part of the inaugural World Innovation Summit on Health, 2013 (WISH-2013).

“Road traffic injuries kill more than 1.2 million people worldwide each year and injure an additional 20 to 50 million. They are the 8th leading cause of death globally, and the leading cause of death for young people aged 15-29 years,” said Hyder. “Our report assesses the current spectrum of available innovations to address road traffic injuries and trauma care, contextualizes the work that needs to be undertaken to move the field forward and synthesizes this knowledge into practical policy recommendations for decision-makers.”

Perhaps most importantly, the report takes a global and multi-sectoral perspective, with sensitivity to those regions of the world that face specific social, economic and financial challenges, to examine the current work being done and provoke both discussion and action, especially in those areas requiring immediate attention or urgent retooling of approaches.

“The symposium in Qatar—the first of its kind—stresses the pivotal role innovation plays in addressing global health challenges,” said Professor David Bishai, forum member and senior technical advisor to JH-IIRU. “I believe the resulting report represents an important milestone for global health.”

The report concludes by setting forth ten recommendations the authors hope will be taken up by decision-makers and serve as a foundation for future work, including urging stakeholders to promote and use evidence-based innovations for road safety and trauma care, and asking global health leaders and UN agencies to ensure road safety and trauma care are included as key concerns for sustainable global health.

The summit, a high-profile initiative aimed at promoting and facilitating innovations in the delivery of healthcare around the globe, was attended by high-level officials, key decision-makers, government officials, academics, researchers and business leaders focused on tackling some of the most pressing global health challenges like road traffic injury and trauma care, as well as mental health, obesity and end-of-life care, among others.

“The cost of dealing with the consequences of these crashes, including trauma care, is in the billions of dollars. Moreover, in low- and middle-income countries, the rate of road traffic injuries is twice as high as in developed nations. While road safety issues have recently begun garnering more attention, the reality is that road injuries are responsible for more than one third of the world’s injury burden. These shocking numbers are unacceptable and represent a call to action for the global health community,” added Hyder.

JH-IIRU director, Adnan Hyder, speaks at the inaugural World Innovation Summit for Health

"Road Injuries and Trauma Care: Innovations for Policy" is available for download at

Sunday, November 17, 2013 marked the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, a worldwide acknowledgement of the 1.3 million people killed annually by road traffic crashes and a call for action to address this global epidemic.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) offers its deepest sympathies to those most affected by road traffic crashes—not only those who have lost their lives, but to the 20-50 million who are severely or permanently injured as a result of road collisions—and we reassert our commitment to reducing the number of needless injuries and deaths on the world’s roads.

JH-IIRU is currently working with a consortium of partners on the Global Road Safety Program, a five-year initiative that draws on support from Bloomberg Philanthropies to implement road safety solutions where they are needed most. While there is still much work to be done, JH-IIRU is dedicated to the Global Road Safety Program and proud to join with global partners in this effort.

In addition, JH-IIRU is working with partners in low and middle income countries – such as Pakistan, South Africa and Uganda – to help build capacity and develop data systems to address the growing burden of road injuries. Through research, training and partnerships, JH-IIRU hopes fewer and fewer people around the world will become victims of road traffic injuries.

For more information on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, visit the website:

For more information on the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program, visit us at:

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit is pleased to offer a free, online certificate training program, Road Traffic Injury Prevention and Control in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (RTIP).

This comprehensive program is comprised of seven multimedia educational modules, covering a wide range of topics, from the basics of road traffic injury prevention to setting up injury surveillance systems, evaluating road safety interventions and influencing policy on road traffic injuries (RTIs). The lectures are taught by a variety of instructors, including JH-IIRU faculty as well as experts in the field of injury prevention control and trauma care from around the world.

The program is free of cost and open to policy makers, researchers, educators and anyone in the general public interested in learning more about RTIs. To date, more than 400 people have enrolled from nearly 80 different countries with close to 30 certificates issued.

We do not offer academic credit, but do provide a certificate for completing course modules.

To find out more, visit our website:

JH-IIRU Associate Directors, Kent Stevens and Abdul Bachani, along with post doctoral fellow, Fatima Paruk, are in Nairobi, Kenya this week as part of a series of high-level meetings as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program.

More than 3000 people die each year in Kenya as the result of road traffic crashes.  JH-IIRU, as part of the Global Road Safety Program, is working in two districts, Thika and Naivasha, to monitor and evaluate two major risk factors, helmet-wearing and speeding.

Research suggests that properly wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by nearly 70% and death by more than 40%. Research has also shown that an increase in average speed is directly related to both the likelihood of a crash and the severity of the consequences.

While in Nairobi, the JH-IIRU team will take part in the launch of a national speed prevention campaign, “Slow Down, Speed Kills.” The campaign, part of a joint collaboration with Global Road Safety Program consortium partner, the World Health Organization,  as well as The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport, includes radio messaging and outdoor adverts on billboards. The aim is to raise awareness among motorists of the risks and consequences of speeding.

JH-IIRU’s work in Thika and Naivasha, as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program, shows that there has been a substantial increase in speed compliance. In Thika, speed compliance increased from 42% in June 2011 to 71% in June 2013, while the increase in Naivasha was from 50% to 77% for the same time frame. However, large vehicles, like matatus and buses and light trucks remain the least compliant in both districts.

The launch is part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program. Click here for an infographic on the work the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program constortium partners have been doing in Kenya.

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