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Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit

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

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Since 1991, the total number of motor vehicles has more than doubled in Russia. But with rapid motorization comes an increase in road traffic injuries (RTIs). In 2009, there were more than 250,000 RTIs and more than 26,000 deaths resulting from RTIs.

Russia’s high instance of injuries from road traffic collisions has been attributed in part to low rate of seatbelt use (the estimates of which vary across the Federation from 15-33 percent). Previous research has shown the use of seatbelts is an important means of reducing the risk of death or serious injury in a crash by almost 50% for both drivers and front seat passengers and by 25% for rear seat passengers. Because of these statistics, the Russian federal government has taken steps to improve overall road safety and by extension, increase seatbelt wearing rates, by instituting programs such as the Federal Targeted Program for Ensuring Road Traffic Safety. Despite these efforts, there has been no study published in English to examine their impact.

It is for this reason that JH-IIRU team members, including affiliated faculty Sai Ma,  along with RS-10 consortium partners from Lipetsk State Technical University and the World Health Organization, recently published “Seatbelt and Child Seat Use in Lipetskaya Oblast, Russia: Frequencies, Attitudes, and Perceptions.” This article, the first study published in English, describes, in detail, the patterns of seatbelt use and attitudes among drivers and passengers toward seatbelt use in Russia.

As part of the Road Safety in 10 Countries project (RS-10), in 2012, JH-IIRU published “Public Health Burden of Road Traffic Injuries: An Assessment from Ten Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” a special issue of Traffic Injury Prevention. This landmark publication includes 11 scientific papers jointly authored with 50 colleagues from JH-IIRU and their in-country collaborators that contribute much-needed new knowledge to the burgeoning issue of road traffic injuries in low- and middle- income countries.

You can access the full article along with the entire special issue here.

To find out more about JH-IIRU and road safety, contact us at IIRU@JHSPH.edu

Dr. Sai Ma of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit was recently featured in an article in the Lancet about road traffic fatality data in China. The July 23 article, “Uncertainty clouds China's road-traffic fatality data,” discusses concerns that the number of deaths is underreported by officials there.

Dr. Ma offered her experience with the Road Safety in 10 Countries project to emphasize the importance of collaboration among different sectors in implementing road safety solutions. “The Ministry of Health can't go onto the road and stop speeding cars and give tickets,” said Dr. Ma. “They can't go out onto the streets to change traffic light patterns. They have to build a really strong and close relationship with the ministries that can do those interventions.”

According to Dr. Ma, the Road Safety in 10 Countries project provides a good example of the supportiveness of and cooperation among city governments, police and public health officials in the country.

For more information about our work in road safety, please contact us.

Lancet_China

Most of China's road traffic deaths are pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. (Photo Credit: The Lancet)

On May 24, Dr. Sai Ma, a core faculty member of the International Injury Research Unit, participated in “Measuring the Progress on Maternal and Child Mortality: Data, Alternative Methods and Findings,” a symposium sponsored by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Highlighted by speakers from WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank, the symposium brought together top-level maternal and child health experts to discuss the most recent studies on maternal and child and mortality, as well as the policy implications for the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals for reducing child and maternal deaths by 2015.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s latest study on child mortality was a focal point of the day, emphasizing the need for accurate, more sophisticated child mortality measurement and data collection methods.

Dr. Ma’s research interests include early childhood development, health disparities and injury prevention in developing countries, so the workshop proved useful for her continued work in these areas, and provided several new ideas for the evaluation of data sources for projects within the International Injury Research Unit.

Sai_Ma

Dr. Sai Ma

Two faculty in the International Injury Research Unit are among ten faculty members who received pilot grants from the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health to support their proposed global health projects. Thirty-one applicants competed for the grants.

Aruna Chandran, Assistant Scientist in Health Systems/International Health, will work with IIRU on developing EMS and injury surveillance systems in Pakistan.

Sai Ma, Assistant Scientist in Population Family and Reproductive Health, will work with IIRU in exploring the burden of injuries in China that require hospitalization.

Many congratulations to both of our colleagues for two achievements: getting the award and raising the profile of international injury research. For more information, please see Faculty Grants in Global Health.

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