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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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From May 20-24, 2019, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) team visited Gaborone for the inception of a new partnership with the MVA Fund and the National Road Safety Council in Botswana. The JH-IIRU team – led by Director Dr. Abdul Bachani – met with local officials, led a stakeholder engagement workshop, and agreed on a plan for the assessment.

“This week has been full of very productive and insightful meetings with key Botswanan policy and decision makers,” said JH-IIRU Director Dr. Abdul Bachani. “We were able to meet with so many individuals who are committed to making a difference in Botswana. Our assessment and subsequent recommendations will pave the way to continued success in saving lives here in Botswana.”

Over the course of the week, the JH-IIRU team met with representatives from national agencies, such as the Department of Road Transport and Safety, and the Ministry of Health, in addition to institutions such as the local Red Cross, University of Botswana, and local emergency medical service stations and trauma centres.

Following meeting with local officials, Dr. Bachani and his team led an official project launch and held a stakeholder engagement workshop, which included an introduction to the Botswana National Road Safety Strategy and related activities identified under the plan such as safer vehicles, safer roads and mobility, and post-crash care.

Through this promising new initiative, the JH-IIRU team will construct a comprehensive of road safety interventions that have been conducted in Botswana, and to evaluate their effectiveness as well as identify areas for improvement. This assessment is expected to inform the development of Botswana’s new national road safety strategy.

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Director Dr. Abdul Bachani and the JH-IIRU team spoke with officials from Botswana's Ministry of Health and Department of Road Transport and Safety, among other institutions, as they laid the groundwork in conducting their road safety assessment. 

On May 7-8, 2019, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) team members traveled to London to participate in a pair of meetings designed to discuss the adoption of a target to halve deaths and serious injuries from road crashes beyond 2020.

JH-IRU Director Dr. Abdul Bachani and Assistant Scientist Dr. Connie Hoe attended an international roundtable hosted by the Towards Zero Foundation to examine the current state of global road safety, as well as current and future sustainable development goals (SDGs). Among the existing SDGs, unanimously adopted in September 2015, target 3.6 aims to halve the number of global traffic deaths and injuries by 2020.

JH-IIRU Senior Technical Advisor Dr. Margie Peden led a discussion on setting future targets for serious injuries, while collaborator Jessica Truong, Vice President for Programmes of Toward Zero Foundation, concluded the roundtable with a conversation on selecting targets for 2030.

“It’s imperative that we continue to set and work towards sustainable development goals targeting road safety across the globe,” said Dr. Bachani. “As we approach 2020, we’re working to develop additional evidence-based recommendations to be applied by all UN Member States.”

The next day, on May 8, Drs. Bachani, Hoe, and Peden joined in the second meeting of the expert panel for the Commonwealth Road Safety Initiative (CRSI), which officially launched this spring by HRH Prince Michael of Kent in an effort to raise the profile of road safety and encourage stronger action by the Commonwealth’s 53 member countries.

The team met with HRH Prince Michael of Kent and the other expert panel members as they drafted recommendations to be included in their upcoming report and agenda for road safety strategy.

Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) Director Dr. Abdulgafoor M. Bachani was promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the school announced on May 21.

Dr. Bachani, who was named as the new director of JH-IIRU last July, previously served as an assistant professor starting in October 2014.

“This promotion is so very well deserved for Abdul,” said JH-IIRU Senior Technical Advisor Dr. David Bishai. “For over a decade, he’s shown a commitment to excellence here at the School evident by steady research output and positive relationships with students, staff, and other faculty. I’m so pleased to see his hard work be recognized.”

Recently, Dr. Bachani was honored with Excellence in Teaching recognitions for his leadership in several courses taught throughout the year. In his courses on “Hospital-Based Injury/Trauma Surveillance in Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” “Confronting the Burden of Injuries: A Global Perspective,” and “Applying Summary Measures of Population Health to Improve Health Systems,” Dr. Bachani received top marks through student course evaluations.

In 2008, Dr. Bachani earned his MHS from JHSPH and was part of JH-IIRU’s founding team of researchers. In 2011, after receiving his PhD – also from JHSPH – Dr. Bachani began his professional career as an Assistant Scientist at the School and Associate Director of the Unit.

On May 16, 2019, leadership and faculty from the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) traveled to St. Charles, Illinois to share assessment findings and initiate a new phase of its partnership with the Michael Phelps Foundation.

JH-IIRU Director Dr. Abdul Bachani and Research Associate Priyanka Agrawal were on hand to share their assessment of MPF’s “IM” Program, which launched in 2010 and includes swim instruction and drowning prevention lessons. The evaluation assessed the program’s effectiveness in training more than 20,000 children across nearly 40 Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

“Through our evaluation of the IM Program, we found significant success in terms of access and reach,” said Dr. Bachani. “Nearly 4,500 additional families had access to swim training that otherwise would not have had any. And the program helped participating children overcome a number of different obstacles, including fear, anxiety, and depression.”

Dr. Bachani and the JH-IIRU team will continue to work with the Foundation through the next phase of evaluations, when they’ll conduct a systematic evaluation focusing on the program’s impact.

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JH-IIRU's Dr. Abdul Bachani and Priyanka Agrawal traveled to St. Charles, Illinois to share evaluation findings with the Michael Phelps Foundation.

On April 8-10, 2019, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) Director Dr. Abdul Bachani, PhD MHS and Associate Director Dr. Qingfeng Li, PhD participated in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative to Prevent Drowning partner meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Dr. Bachani and Dr. Li joined leadership from Bloomberg Philanthropies and international partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Global Health Advocacy Incubator, Makerere University, Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB) and International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) to share progress of their work in drowning prevention and strategize on upcoming initiatives across Bangladesh, Vietnam, Uganda, and globally.

“I’m pleased to represent the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and join together with partners and other passionate researchers from around the world,” said Dr. Bachani. “Through our work in drowning prevention, we’ve already found such encouraging preliminary results. This meeting will serve as a jumping-off point for making continued progress in Bangladesh and beyond.”

Beginning in 2012, JH-IIRU – with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and in partnership with CIPRB and icddr,b – implemented a study to test the large-scale effectiveness of interventions to prevent and reduce childhood drowning in Rural Bangladesh. In total, more than 70,000 children have enrolled in 3,000+ community-run crèches across seven area sub-districts.

Preliminary results show that creches were effective in reducing drowning deaths among children 9-36 months old. Crèches were also found to be highly acceptable in the community, where they provide a safe environment for learning, and to enhance cognitive development.

During the partner meeting, attendees participated in project overviews, strategy breakouts, and field visits to the Ministry of Health and Lions Aggragati Shikkhaniketan School, where they observed a survival swimming class led by CIPRB.

On Wednesday, Dr. Bachani joined Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Kelly Larson and Becky Bavinger – as well as leadership from Vietnam, WHO, CIPRB, and Synergos – for a special media panel, where each representative had the opportunity to highlight the impact of their projects and share key findings and lessons learned. The following day, Dr. Li joined colleagues from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Synergos, CDC, CIPRB, and icddr,b for a field visit to Manohardi, Narshingdi. The group observed crèche activities, Anchal Maa training, and survival swimming teaching; they also met with parents of Anchal children and community leaders.

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Dr. Li and colleagues participated in a field visit to Manohardi, Narshingdi to observe survival swimming instruction, among other activities. 

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