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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: global road safety

On February 19-20, 2020, leadership from the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit joined representatives from more than 140 countries for the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm, Sweden. The conference, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), minister-led delegations, and the Government Offices of Sweden, featured important meetings and discussions with multidisciplinary road safety leaders from around the world.

JH-IIRU Director Dr. Abdul Bachani, along with Drs. Connie Hoe and Kent Stevens collaborated with ministers, senior officials, researchers, and private sector leaders to take stock of where the field is, discuss successes as well as challenges, and chart a way forward to reduce the toll of road traffic crashes.

“Our time in Sweden for the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference was incredibly important and a great indicator of future progress for the field of global road safety,” said Dr. Bachani. “Over the last few days, our team was able to connect with a wide array of passionate, hard-working experts across industries, share ideas for global road safety, and listen to others build upon the inspiring, lifesaving efforts already being implemented at an international level.”


A Royal Welcome

To open the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, His Majesty the King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden welcomed participants to Stockholm. In his remarks, His Majesty acknowledged the tragic reach of road safety challenges in Sweden, Europe, and across the globe, as well as linking the issue to other critically important issues, such as climate change, health equality, poverty, and human rights.

The Youth Are Our Future

Omnia El Omrani, co-chair of the 2nd World Youth Assembly for Road Safety, greeted attendees shared a deliverable from the proceeding event: the adoption of a Global Youth Statement for Road Safety, representing thousands of young people who demand safer and more sustainable roads and cities. Furthermore, El Omrani emphasized the stakes behind the conference with a compelling declaration.

Leadership in Action

In the parallel session, “Improving the Behaviour of All Road Users,” Dr. Bachani provided expert input on the concept of Vision Zero, as well as the importance of road safety laws and regulations, enforcement, and public and private sector cohesion and collaboration. With the help of additional speakers – featuring leadership from the Global Road Safety Partnership, National Road Safety Agency, International Road Federation Global, UNITAR, and TomTom – Dr. Bachani showcased existing road safety laws on key risk factors and identified actions necessary to reach Global Road Safety Performance Targets.

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.

Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit Director Dr. Abdul Bachani traveled to Saudi Arabia for the 5th International Traffic Safety Forum & Exhibition on February 10-12, 2020. Dr. Bachani joined road safety experts from around the world for the three-day conference organized by the Saudi Society for Traffic Safety (SALAMH) in collaboration with the Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University, among other partners.

“This was a great opportunity to connect with international officials and industry stakeholders and engage in high-level discussions,” said Dr. Bachani. “Saudi Arabia has one of the highest road fatality rates and I commend the government for its renewed focus on this issue.”

Dr. Bachani delivered a keynote address in the opening session of the conference - “Towards Vision Zero – Zero Fatalities and Serious Injuries,” during which he highlighted key areas that the country could focus on to improve road safety. Among the issues Dr. Bachani touched upon, he highlighted strong leadership, effective coordination and collaboration among agencies, data systems improvement, and capacity development as fundamental areas that Saudi Arabia needs to focus on to enhance the implementation of best road safety practices; key to achieving the country’s Vision 2030. He was joined by HE Dr. Muhammad bin Abdullah Alqasim (Saudi Red Crescent), Dr. Fred Wegman (Delft University), and Dr. Jon Hankey (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute) in the session and welcomed questions during an open discussion. Later, Dr. Bachani again had the opportunity to share his experience in a special dialogue session on human factors and road crash injury prevention.

From Saudi Arabia, Dr. Bachani will travel to Stockholm, Sweden for the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety on February 19-20, 2020.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit has received a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award, a prestigious honor awarded to companies and organizations that promote road safety around the world.

HRH Prince Michael of Kent, a leading international advocate of road safety, established the award in 1987 to recognize outstanding innovation and achievement in making the world’s roads safer. Each year, according to the World Health Organization’s Global status report on road safety 2018, there are 1.35 million road traffic deaths worldwide.

Presenting the award HRH Prince Michael of Kent said: ‘“The significant achievements and global reach of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit are truly magnificent.”

Abdul Bachani, PhD, Director, at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, accepted the award from HRH Prince Michael at the annual ceremony held at the Savoy London on December 10. Core faculty Kent Stevens, MD, and Connie Hoe, PhD, attended along with other organizations from across the globe.

“To be recognized for our road safety achievements across initiatives, around the world is a much-deserved honor for our entire team,” says Bachani. “For more than 10 years, we’ve played a leading role in international road safety and on behalf of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, we’re sincerely appreciative of this award.”

Through its role in the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety and other efforts, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit has played a leading role in road safety for more than 10 years and builds on its history of cutting-edge research, innovative capacity development programs, and adaptive practice portfolio to strive for safer roads globally.

In addition to its organizational recognition, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit team received an additional honor at the December 10 event as co-organizers of the Global Road Safety Leadership Course, which also earned a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and the Global Road Safety Partnership teams co-lead the twice-annual Global Road Safety Leadership Course, a two-week training program that aims to build leadership capacity to design, implement and advocate for evidence-based road safety programs and policies. The course has trained more than 400 participants from 63 different countries since it was first offered in 2016.

“Working with the Global Road Safety Partnership, we’ve been able to make a real difference across seven offerings both on campus at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and abroad,” says Bachani. “We’re grateful for this partnership and look forward to continuing our work with countless more dedicated road safety champions.”

The Unit’s work, both with BIGRS and GRSLC, is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Since 2010, through the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and its partners have monitored, evaluated, and implemented road safety interventions, as well as led critically important capacity development trainings and workshops.

Leadership from the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) joined fellow global road safety experts for the Commonwealth Road Safety Initiative’s (CRSI) launch of the Commonwealth Expert Panel Report on Tuesday, December 9, in London. The report aims to put road safety on the agenda of the Commonwealth and includes 10 key, evidence-based recommendations. 

JH-IIRU Director Dr. Abdul Bachani and core faculty Dr. Connie Hoe, and 13 other colleagues composed the panel, which features representation from Canada, Australia, Rwanda, India, Malta, Jamaica, Bangladesh, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom.

“The launch of today’s report is a testament of the hard work conducted by my colleagues on the Commonwealth expert panel,” said Dr. Bachani. “We believe that the recommendations we’ve outlined will allow the region to shift its attitude on the issue of road safety and ultimately strive for zero road traffic fatalities.”

David Ward, President and CEO of the Towards Zero Foundation delivered the opening session of the launch event, followed by a keynote speech by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

“Commonwealth countries suffer over 500,000 road fatalities every year,” said HRH Prince Michael. “What more reason do we need to recognize road safety as an issue of relevance to the Commonwealth?”

The 10 recommendations range from putting road safety on the Commonwealth agenda to encouraging Commonwealth road safety partnerships. It is the goal of the expert panel that these recommendations will trigger more action among Commonwealth countries that will lead to the vision of zero fatalities and serious injuries.

Following the report launch, Dr. Hoe and CRSI Coordinator Jessica Truong moderated a pair of panels on country experiences of road safety and the recommendations, respectively. In the second panel, Dr. Bachani outlined the importance of two of the report’s recommendations: putting road safety on the Commonwealth’s agenda and adopting the safe system approach.

To view the full report and its recommendations, please click here.

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