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Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit


Keyword: rti

JH-IIRU Co-Hosts Emergency Medical Services Symposium in Kenya

According to the World Health Organization, 90% of all injury-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, but often health care facilities in developing nations are unable to provide much-needed emergency services. And while injury -- in particular road traffic injury (RTI) -- has received increasing attention, strategies to strengthen trauma care have often been lacking.

 As part of the Road Safety in Ten Countries (RS-10) project, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) has been tasked with implementing, monitoring, and evaluating trauma care in Kenya, because, while we recognize that injury prevention is the primary overall objective of the RS-10 project, even with the best interventions, injuries will continue to occur.

To that end, in an effort to build collaboration and consensus among the many organizations and individuals who provide initial care for the injured patient, Dr. Kent Stevens, JH-IIRU Associate Director for Trauma Systems and Clinical Services, co-led an Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) symposium in one of the two RS-10 intervention sites in Kenya.

“Connecting the Dots: A Unified EMS System in Kenya” was held from August 7-8, in Naivasha. Jointly sponsored by JH-IIRU and the CDC Kenya, the conference was attended by key stakeholders involved in pre-hospital and hospital care in Kenya. The attendees included emergency medical technicians as well as representatives from the Kenyan Ministry of Medical Services, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation as well as Kenyatta National Hospital and non-governmental organizations and academics.

The symposium aimed to cover all aspects of trauma care in Kenya, from preparedness to response, with an emphasis on how policy can be implemented and ways to engage decision makers in the country.

Dr, Stevens characterized the conference as a resounding success, “The discussions were lively and helpful, with wide participation and a solid plan of action put in place.”

Through improvement of pre-hospital and hospital care and understanding the experience of the injured patient in Kenya, JH-IIRU to will continue our commitment to saving lives, both in the short-term and for years to come.

EMS Kenya
Participants of "Connecting the Dots: A Unified EMS System in Kenya"

Focus on Road Traffic Injuries in Cambodia: Selections from the Traffic Injury Prevention Special Issue

The World Health Organization estimates that road traffic injuries (RTIs) account for approximately 1.2 million deaths annually around the globe, with the majority occurring in low- and middle-income countries. In countries like Cambodia, motorcycles are a common form of transportation, and their popularity is predicted to increase.

Head injuries are a main cause of disability and death in motorcycle crashes, but helmet use in Cambodia remains relatively low, despite the fact that helmet-wearing is a proven injury prevention intervention .
In order to assist with better planning and implementation of injury prevention strategies, JH-IIRU team members, including Associate Director Abdulgafoor M. Bachani, along with colleagues from Handicap International, Belgium and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published, “Helmet Use Among Motorcyclists in Cambodia: A Survey of Use, Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices.” The goal of the study was to assess the current status of helmet use in five districts in Cambodia as well as knowledge, attitudes and practices related to helmet use. 

As part of the Road Safety in 10 Countries project (RS-10), in 2012, JH-IIRU published “Public Health Burden of Road Traffic Injuries: An Assessment from Ten Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” a special issue of Traffic Injury Prevention. This landmark publication includes 11 scientific papers jointly authored with 50 colleagues from JH-IIRU and their in-country collaborators that contribute much-needed new knowledge to the burgeoning issue of road traffic injuries in low- and middle- income countries.

You can access the full article along with the entire special issue here.

To find out more about JH-IIRU and road safety, contact us at

International Health Announces Leon Robertson Faculty Development Chair

The Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is delighted to welcome Dr. Kavi Bhalla as the newest Assistant Professor and Leon Robertson Faculty Development Chair. With this appointment, the Department of International Health will continue to strengthen our commitment to injury prevention, as Dr. Bhalla will be an integral member of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU), a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Injuries, Violence and Accident Prevention.

As a research scientist in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Bhalla brings to the Bloomberg School a solid background in injury epidemiology and burden of injury estimation in information-poor settings. He co-leads the injury expert group of the Global Burden of Disease 2010 project. Dr Bhalla obtained his bachelor of technology in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, India, and in 2001, he received a PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University in New York.  From 2001-2004, he was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Virginia Center for Applied Biomechanics where his work focused on the biomechanics of injuries in car-pedestrian crashes.

Dr. Bhalla’s research interests are closely aligned with JH-IIRU, and include the health impact of transportation policies, with a focus on prevention of road traffic injuries in developing countries. His experience in international road safety, burden of disease analysis, and injury biomechanics will be an asset not only to the Health Systems program, in which JH-IIRU resides, but also to the entire department.

The Leon Robertson chair was endowed to support the career development of an assistant or associate professor in the Department of International Health whose principal focus relates to the field of injury prevention by providing substantial funding for a period of three years, after which a new recipient will be identified.

K Bhalla
Dr. Kavi Bhalla