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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: road safety

On April 12-13, 2018, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) leadership, including Director Adnan A. Hyder and Deputy Director Abdul M. Bachani, attended the 25th meeting of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City, New York.

In the meeting, road safety experts discussed implementation of UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/72/271, which aims to improve global road safety through a number of measures including the implementation of vehicle safety regulations of seat belts, airbags, and active safety systems as standard equipment.

“Our team has been integral to this effort over the past few years as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center,” said Dr. Hyder, who chairs one of the working groups of the UNRSC. “Generating evidence to influence global dialogue with our international colleagues has helped lead to this moment and it was a thrill to see these outcomes come to fruition from the UN General Assembly.”

The resolution’s measures will comply with a dozen previously agreed upon global road safety performance targets that align with the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash response.

Following discussion of the resolution, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed announced the launch of the UN Road Safety Trust Fund. Aimed to continue road safety progress across the globe, the fund will focus on bridging the gaps in the allotment of resources for international action.

“The launch of the road safety fund is a testament to the years of efforts by all partners in UNRSC,” said Dr. Bachani. “We at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit are proud to be part of that process and of this story of change.”

In building the momentum that led to this resolution, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit faculty co-edited world reports on road traffic injuries and child injuries. Through the Unit's previous work with the Road Safety in 10 Countries project, Unit researchers published a handful of papers on the global road safety climate. 

To learn more about JH-IIRU's work in global road safety, please click here.

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Drs. Hyder and Bachani attended meetings of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration in New York City on April 12-13, 2018.

Interventions such as speeding enforcement and formal swimming lessons for young children could potentially save more than 250,000 lives a year if they were implemented across populations living in extreme poverty in low- and middle-income countries, according to a new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The review found the most successful safety measures involved road safety, with speed enforcement saving more than 80,000 lives per year and drunk-driving enforcement, saving more than 60,000 lives a year. The next category was child safety, with formal swimming lessons for children younger than 14 years saving more than 25,000 lives and the use of crèches, or playpens, to supervise children younger than 5 years, saving more than 10,000 lives 

The paper, published April 11 in Lancet Global Health, was led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, which is based at the Bloomberg School.

“With such critical lifesaving findings, this new research represents a real opportunity to reduce the global burden of preventable deaths among the world’s poorest and most in-need populations,” said Andres I. Vecino-Ortiz, MD, an assistant scientist at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and the study’s lead author. “Where there is arguably the greatest need for help, this study shows something can be done.”

To estimate the effect of these interventions, the researchers targeted the poorest billion people worldwide in countries identified by The Lancet’s Non-Communicable Disease and Injury (NCDI) Poverty Commission. From the 102 countries in the NCDI commission, 18 were excluded due to absent or inadequate data.

Following a literature review of more than 500 publications, Vecino-Ortiz and his colleagues isolated 11 measures that had a significant effect on mortality. Six were for road traffic injuries, while the remaining five were for drowning. No data on mortality for interventions were found that addressed falls, burns or poisonings.

“In these 84 countries where the poorest billion people live, the burden of unintentional injuries is tragically increasing. But these interventions have the potential to save countless lives and make a significant impact on communities,” said Adnan A. Hyder, MD, director of Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and a professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health. “With more support and a greater focus on studying injury interventions, global health researchers can save even more lives.”

This paper is a call to action for decision makers to implement evidence-based, effective safety measures to protect the lives of the most vulnerable. Also, this study reveals the concerning gaps in knowledge on the effectiveness of injury interventions in low- and middle-income countries.

“Effective interventions for unintentional injuries: a systematic review and mortality impact assessment among the poorest billion” was written by Andres I. Vecino-Ortiz, Aisha Jafri, and Adnan A. Hyder.

The research was supported by the Fogarty International Center of the US National Institutes of Health (#D43TW009284).

On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, members of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) team, including Director Adnan A. Hyder, traveled to New York City, New York to participate in a meeting for the 4th Global Status Report on Road Safety Advisory Committee.

Convening to prepare the 2018 report, Dr. Hyder joined road safety experts including the World Health Organization’s Dr. Etienne Krug and Dr. Nhan Tran—an alum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“Data from the report on road safety sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies is vital to help decision making on road safety at global and national levels,” said Dr. Hyder.

In 2015, the committee released its third global status report—available online here—which provided a snapshot of the road safety landscape at a global level and highlighted the existing challenges and available opportunities required to make a positive change.

Currently, JH-IIRU is working with a consortium of partners to improve road safety in 10 low- and middle-income countries around the world.

The Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) is a five-year, $125 million effort to reduce the burden of global road traffic injuries and fatalities and focuses on 10 cities in nine different LMICs. Through the program, partners support cities to strengthen and implement proven solutions through key road safety interventions like helmet and seatbelt wearing, along with speed and drunk driving reduction.

To learn more about JH-IIRU’s work with Bloomberg Philanthropies, and its global road safety efforts, please click here.

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Dr. Adnan Hyder, director of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, participated in a committee meeting at Bloomberg to prepare the 4th Global Status Report on Road Safety.

Recently, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit Assistant Scientist Andres I. Vecino-Ortiz was featured on Brazil’s Globo Network in an interview to discuss JH-IIRU work in the country on road safety. The research, which assessed the main road safety risk factors such as drink driving, helmet use, speeding and seat belt use in Sao Paulo, is a part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety.

“It is key to improve speeding enforcement in Sao Paulo as the evidence shows that combined enhanced enforcement and social marketing campaigns are the most effective strategy to reducing speeding, and therefore road traffic injuries,” said Vecino-Ortiz. “Sao Paulo reached the highest prevalence on speeding since the project started after a brief improvement potentially related to city-wide interventions carried out during 2016.”

According to the research, observed prevalence of drunk driving in Sao Paulo has decreased from 4.1 percent to 1.1 percent between rounds 1 and 5 of the study. Additionally, Vecino-Ortiz and his colleagues found that correct helmet use in Sao Paulo is 99 percent and while front seat belt use in the city is very high, at 92 percent, use of seatbelts is relatively lower in adults (78 percent) and use of child restraints is much lower (around 40 percent).

Sao Paulo, Brazil is one of 10 cities involved in the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety, along with Fortaleza, Brazil; Bogota, Colombia; Bandung, Indonesia; Bangkok, Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Accra, Ghana; Mumbai, India; and Shanghai, China.

To read the article and watch Vecino-Ortiz’s video interview, please click here. To learn more about the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety and JH-IIRU’s work in the field, please click here.

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Assistant Scientist Andres Vecino-Ortiz speaks in a media interview with Globo Network in Brazil about road safety research in Sao Paulo.

Experts from the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) and the Global Road Safety Partnership will lead a two-week training course on road safety from March 2-17, 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The course, which will be offered to more than 60 participants from across the globe, aims at building leadership capacity to design, advocate for, and implement effective road safety programs and policies. Topics covered in the course include strategic communication, behavior change, advocacy, urban design, economics, and resource allocation.

“We’re thrilled to help coordinate another iteration of this truly lifesaving course,” said Professor Adnan Hyder, JH-IIRU director. “With support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and in collaboration with the Global Road Safety Partnership, we’re able to utilize our team’s expertise and lead sessions to address road safety in low- and middle-income countries around the world.”

In addition to learning modules and group work, the course will take participants on a pair of site visits to Kenyatta Hospital and Kasarani Primary School. These visits will complement lessons learned through the course by placing participants directly into the field to observe post-crash response implementation in Kenya’s largest hospital and understand child road safety interventions in support of school age children, respectively.

“Through this course, we’re able to arm participants with the skills needed to make a significant and much-needed change in their own communities,” said Dr. Abdulgafoor M. Bachani, JH-IIRU deputy director. “Even though low- and middle-income countries account for about half of the world’s vehicles, they represent ninety percent of all road traffic fatalities.”

An additional course on global road safety leadership will be held this summer in Baltimore, Maryland. For more information on the Global Road Safety Leadership Course, please click here

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The regional Global Road Safety Leadership Course will be held from March 2 through March 17 in Nairobi, Kenya.

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