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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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The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU), along with collaborating organizations from around the world, is pleased to join Bloomberg Philanthropies as a partner in its reinvestment in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS). The six-year plan and commitment of $240 million by Bloomberg Philanthropies through 2025 expects to save an estimated 600,000 lives and prevent as many as 22 million injuries in low- and middle-income countries.

Through the plan, Dr. Bachani and the JH-IIRU team will support evidence-based programs in up to 30 cities to address the death and disability from road injuries. The Unit will implement and oversee the collection of risk factor data to support implementation of road safety programs in these cities, monitor compliance to strengthened legislation, and implement the Global Road Safety Leadership Course, among other roles.

“We’re thrilled to extend our partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and improve global road safety through this investment,” said Director Dr. Abdul Bachani. “Since the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and others first teamed up for this initiative, we’ve prevented more than 300,000 deaths and as many as 11 million injuries across the world. This additional support is a testament to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ commitment to save lives at a global level, and we look forward to our role as part of this effort.”

Since 2010, JH-IIRU has partnered with organizations such as the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), World Health Organization (WHO), and World Bank on the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ road safety initiatives across 10 countries (Brazil, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam) to save lives and reduce serious injuries from traffic crashes. In total, the JH-IIRU team and its national partners conducted some of the first studies to understand and monitor the status of road safety risk factors. To date, the team has collected over 7.34 million observations on risk factors like drink driving, speeding, seatbelts, and helmet use.

Bloomberg Philanthropies, in 2014, announced its next commitment with BIGRS, further utilizing its network of partners such as JH-IIRU to focus on 10 selected cities (Accra, Ethiopia; Accra, Ghana; Bandung, Indonesia; Bangkok, Thailand; Bogota, Colombia; Fortaleza and Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Mumbai, India; and Shanghai, China) across the globe. Through BIGRS, JH-IIRU conducted eight rounds of observational studies over five years surpassing 10 million observations. --- parts of this could be blended in the above paragraph.

Furthermore, in 2016, and with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, JH-IIRU and GRSP jointly implemented the Global Road Safety Leadership Course. The program, which aims to enhance effective leadership capacity to optimally address road safety in order to reduce deaths and serious injuries around the world, has been held seven times in Baltimore, Maryland -- near the campus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public health -- and around the world, through regional offerings. More than 400 participants from 60 countries have attended the course, and the next offering will be held in Baltimore later this year.

To learn more about Bloomberg Philanthropies’ reinvestment in global road safety, please click here.

Each year – according to the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018 – 1.3 million people die on the world’s roads. Another 20-50 million sustain non-fatal injuries, and among 15-29 year-olds road traffic injuries (RTIs) are the leading cause of death globally.

Statistics such as these fuel our work here at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit to work tirelessly within the road safety field and strive to reduce the burden of RTIs around the world.

As we conclude another phase working with Bloomberg Philanthropies and international partners, we can reflect on our time working across 10 cities and 10 countries to reduce non-fatal and fatal RTIs and impact key risk factors.

  1. Understand your data sources
    When our team was in Vietnam, studying mortality due to RTIs, we had a number of secondary data sources at our disposal and each provided us with different information. From police and hospital data, to national surveys and commune level vital registration information, we were able to draw diverse insights on everything from injury and fatality rates to crash frequencies and details.

    Such is the case for road safety data around the world: to ensure the full story, it’s important to gather from multiple sources and understand the value that each has.
     
  2. Repeated measurements are useful in monitoring trends and identifying focus areas
    As we learned when we studied helmet use, speeding, restraint use, and drink driving in these cities and countries, repeated rounds of measurement are important to identify patterns and trends; they can help with identification of emerging issues as well as highlight areas of programmatic success.

    If we hadn’t looked at multiple rounds in Bangkok, for example, we wouldn’t have as clearly been able to conclude that females had a significantly lower rate of helmet use, or to focus on passengers, weekends, and evening/night-time enforcement.
     
  3. Mixed methods approach necessary to understand underlying factors
    To truly paint accurate road safety pictures, we utilized a combination of both quantitative and qualitative studies. And in doing so, this mixed-methods approach provided a clearer understanding of factors underlying the observed trends or outcomes than if we implemented a more one-dimensional focus.

    While conducting KAP roadside interviews in two Kenyan towns, we analyzed nearly 5,000 respondents’ answers to questions on the top factors related to the decision to speed, as well as the proportion that knew the speed limit at the part of the road. These analyses were helpful in assessing each towns’ road safety climate. Complementing them, however, were the insightful interviews that provided a more detailed commentary on the situation.
     
  4. Coordinated efforts necessary for sustained improvement
    It takes a village to oversee continued progress, which we learned throughout our work, including during drink-driving observations in Addis Ababa.

    Assessing the drink-driving rate in the Ethiopian city over more than three years, for example, we could cross-reference critical points of partner efforts such as mass media campaigns and enforcement. In doing so, we learned the significant impact of each strategy and, in tandem with each other, the overall value provided to the community.
     
  5. External activities do have an impact
    Sometimes, independent and uncontrollable events and activities can become mechanisms for change, too.

    During our time in Cambodia, for example, we tracked helmet wearing rates among drivers and pinpointed several newsworthy dates that triggered an impact. From the floods in Kandal and Kampong Speu, to the national elections, and even the funeral of a former king, the scope and visibility of enforcement in the region became catalysts for behavior change, both positive and negative.
     
  6. You can’t do it alone!
    Through the collaboration with multidisciplinary partners, messages can be amplified and the reach can be widened.

    Studying information sharing across stakeholders in Colombia, we were able to glean the true potential of campaigns when working in larger networks and increasing capacity development. As we mapped, our network of report sharing between local stakeholders, such as Universidad de Los Andes and Universidad de Antioquia, as well as other organizations including iRAP, World Bank, Vital Strategies, and World Resource Institute, we saw a greater impact and effect on our stakeholders, ranging from the media and general public, to the Bogota Traffic Police and other city government agencies.

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. 

On Monday, January 14, 2019, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit hosted “Achieving SDGs: Keys to Success for Road Safety.” The event welcomed public health experts from across the globe for a special 90-minute conversation held at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and streamed live to international virtual participants.

JH-IIRU Director Dr. Abdul Bachani moderated the panel, which featured Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Kelly Larson, World Health Organization’s Dr. Nhan Tran—a Bloomberg School of Public Health alum, Pan American Health Organization’s Dr. Eugenia Rodriguez, and Office of Public Services of Fortaleza’s Luiz Saboia.

“Today’s event brought together a diverse group of experts to hold a critical conversation on road safety and SDGs that will certainly help move towards progress and life-saving solutions,” said Dr. Bachani. “Being able to meet with leaders and decision-makers from around the world allowed us a unique opportunity to pose important questions and highlight innovative, evidence-based strategies in an effort to reduce the number of lives lost to motor vehicle crashes each and every day.”

The panel, which answered questions from members of the invite-only audience, discussed everything from the alcohol industry’s role in road safety to moving forward beyond the concluding decade of action in 2020. At the conclusion of the panel, Dr. Bachani presented the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit Award for Leadership in Injury Prevention to Saboia, on behalf of Fortaleza and its mayor, Roberto Claudio.

To watch the full video replay of the event, please click here.alt

Kelly Larson of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Dr. Abdul Bachani served on the panel of road safety experts during "Achieving SDGs: Keys to Success for Road Safety."

Participants of the 2018 Global Road Safety Leadership Course heard from city road safety experts and corporate leaders while visiting the office of Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the offering’s Day 5 site visit to New York, New York on Friday, July 27.
 
Following a week’s worth of sessions and group work, course participants from more than 20 countries were welcomed to Bloomberg’s office by Kelly Larson, public health program director. Larson briefed the participants on the program’s mission and commitment to reducing the number of lives lost due to motor vehicle crashes around the globe.
 
Inspector Dennis Fulton of the New York Police Department and Kim Wiley-Schwartz of the New York City Department of Transportation each then took the podium to discuss road safety through the lenses of enforcement and implementation, respectively.
 
Following an interactive question and answer session and a lunch reception in the Bloomberg Cafeteria, participants had the opportunity to explore the city and examine key intersections for road safety street designs from representatives from the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
 
The course will continue with presentations, group work, and site visits through Friday, August 3, when participants will present in groups to demonstrate their understanding of road safety and leadership.alt

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