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Keyword: rehabilitation

"Streets for Life" and the 6th Annual UN Global Road Safety Week

Road traffic crashes contribute to more than 1.3 million annual deaths worldwide, with many more suffering from disability. The burden of these deaths and disabilities disproportionately impacts those living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In 2015, an ambitious goal of reducing deaths from crashes by 50% by 2020 was set under the Sustainable Development Goal target 3.6. While significant progress has been made, unfortunately, the world wasn’t able to meet this goal, because of both its aggressive vision and the rapid motorization and urbanization patterns seen across the globe. It thus remains imperative that the work in road safety and injury prevention continues unremittingly from prevention of crashes to adequate post-crash care provision of services. It is encouraging, therefore, that the UN adopted resolution 74/299 to improve global road safety and proclaim a second decade of action to prevent at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit is proud to join the United Nations in acknowledging the UN Road Safety Week 2021 and its theme “Streets for Life,” and lending support for lowering speed limits (30km/h or 20mph) in urban areas to improve the safety for all road users.

Why focus on speed?

In short, reducing speeds saves lives. Lower speeds decrease the probability of a crash and its severity. Speed management is not only paramount to improving road safety, but also for sustainable mobility by creating inclusive environments for non-motorized modes of transport, and to help mitigate the impact of climate change from road transport.

Putting most vulnerable users first

Higher speeds in urban areas disproportionately affect vulnerable road users – motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and children. Globally, there has been a shift in the major cause of death of children and young adults from infectious diseases to road traffic injuries now being the main cause for persons between age 5 and 29 years. Hence, enacting and enforcing lower speed limits on roads where vulnerable road users are exposed to high-speed traffic and in the vicinity of schools and communities will help to limit the number of young pedestrians who are impacted by crashes. The JH-IIRU team is proud to contribute to global efforts to improve road safety through multiple avenues including the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety. Since its inception in 2008, the JH-IIRU team has been involved in activities ranging from evidence generation and intervention evaluation to capacity development and translation of evidence into effective policies and programs across the globe.

Going beyond injury prevention: post-crash scenarios

While speed control measures can be taken to prevent crashes from happening in the first place, they are also effective in reducing the severity of crashes when they happen. In addition to these measures, efforts are also needed to focus on post-crash care to avail appropriate and timely care to affected individuals. These efforts ought to go beyond just the acute phase and include medium to long-term rehabilitation, which is key to restoring functioning and improve the overall well-being of individuals. Increasing focus on the post-crash scenario is important to not only save lives but also to restore the lives of the injured as close as possible to their pre-crash states.

Considering rehabilitation as part of continuum of care

Lack of availability, affordability and accessibility to rehabilitation services is a limiting factor for many who need rehabilitation care. These key population- and systems-level limitations have social and economic consequences for countries if not addressed in a timely manner. Even with limited resources available, enhancing availability of and access to rehabilitation services worldwide provide an opportunity for improving quality of lives of individuals. For road traffic injuries, which disproportionately impact vulnerable road users and younger populations across the globe, rehabilitation services are especially useful in preventing complications from injuries and long-term consequences – health, societal, and economic.

Through the newly launched Learning, Acting, and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS), JH-IIRU leads a multidisciplinary consortium that seeks to bridge this gap, and address the growing rehabilitation needs of populations across the globe. We are working to co-develop systems-based solutions to efficiently and effectively respond to rehabilitation needs of individuals, and develop capacity of providers, leaders and health systems to provide rehabilitation care.

Rehabilitation needs a multisectoral person-centered approach that engages local stakeholders and develops approaches that are demand-driven and contextually relevant to ensure their integration and sustainability. By understanding and addressing the rehabilitation needs of individuals after a crash event, and processes involved, ReLAB-HS will generate empirical evidence that will contribute to strengthened health systems that integrate rehabilitation services as a core service.

JH-IIRU Leadership Co-Hosts Global Launch of Rehabilitation Project with USAID

Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit Director Dr. Abdul Bachani, with leadership from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, co-hosted the global launch of a new project with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen rehabilitation services in low- and middle-income countries on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

In the webinar event, Dr. Bachani welcomed more than 300 attendees from around the world to introduce the program, Learning, Acting, and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS), which aims to improve the quality of life, functionality, and independence through simple interventions at the primary care level and the use of technology to bring rehabilitation closer to where affected individuals live.

"Today's event is not only an exciting milestone for the ReLAB-HS consortium and our partners, but I feel as though it also marks a significant leap forward for the fields of health systems and rehabilitation," said Dr. Bachani. "We all know and acknowledge that rehabilitation is integral to the overall health and wellbeing of individuals and these services help people lead full and independent lives."

Following his introduction, Bloomberg School Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie spoke to the School's commitment to critical health issues around the world and shared her excitement for the ReLAB-HS project.

"This groundbreaking effort will bring rehabilitation services to the forefront and find avenues for integration and health systems in low- and middle-income countries," said MacKenzie. "We recognize the remarkable work that all our partners are doing in the field and I'm also confident in the staunch leadership of Abdul and the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit that they bring to this project."

USAID Senior Technical Advisor for Rehabilitation Kirsten Lentz and Nossal Institute of Global Health Director Barbara McPake also spoke during the welcome session.

David H. Peters, the Edgar Berman Chair in International Health, moderated a session on the status of the field and opportunities in health systems and rehabilitation, before Rachael Lowe, co-founder and president of Physiopedia, led an introduction to the project and transitioned to a panel discussion featuring project partners from MiracleFeet, UCP Wheels for Humanity, and Humanity & Inclusion.

Nabeel Akram, ReLAB-HS Director of Operations and faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health concluded with closing remarks and a thank you to the entire consortium team and technical partners.

"This strategic investment of U.S. government through the ReLAB-HS project towards integration of AT-inclusive rehabilitation into the broader context of universal health coverage and health systems is, to my mind, simply groundbreaking," said Akram. "Thanks all for joining and participating. This is only the beginning."

The full video replay of the ReLAB-HS global launch is available here. To learn more about the project, please click here.

Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit Leadership, Faculty Present at Health Economics Congress

From July 13-17, 2019, leadership, faculty, and students from the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit attended the 2019 International Health Economics Association (iHEA) congress in Basel, Switzerland.

Titled “New Heights in Health Economics,” the 13th World Congress on Health Economics welcomed public health researchers and practitioners from around the world to share findings and collaborate in order to advance the field of health economics.

On Monday, July 15, JH-IIRU Director Dr. Abdul Bachani presented on new findings highlighting the critical role that access to appropriate rehabilitation services has in improving both functioning and resumption of work post-injury. Dr. Bachani and students Rantimi Adetunji and Niloufer Taber, along with international partners Cuong Pham (Hanoi University of Public Health) and Muhammad Fadhli Mohd Yusoff (Institute of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Malaysia) contributed to the research.

“Ensuring access to appropriate and effective rehabilitation services is fundamental to improving functioning post-injury and enabling individuals resume life and work activities,” said Dr. Bachani. “By applying health systems and behavioral economics research methods, we can enhance our understanding on how to better integrate rehabilitation services into health systems and thereby reduce the health, economic, and societal impact of injuries.”

Assistant Scientist Andres Vecino-Ortiz was also on hand to share his recent work in health economics and chair related presentations in the field.

The next congress, a biennial event, will be held in Cape Town, South Africa from July 24-28, 2021.

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