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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: unintentional injuries

May is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month (GYTSM), and the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) supports the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) in their efforts to address the issue of road safety among young people. We encourage a worldwide conversation to call attention to road traffic fatalities not only in the United States, but around the world, especially in low- and middle-income countries, were nearly 95% of youth road traffic fatalities occur.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World report on child injury prevention, 2008, more than 260,000 children die as a result of road traffic crashes each year, with an estimated 10 million more sustaining non-life threatening injuries. Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are the global leading cause of death for children 15-19 years, and the second leading cause of death for children 5-14 years.  What’s more, RTI’s rank within the top 15 causes of disease burden worldwide for children under 14.

National Youth Global Youth Traffic Safety Month® (GYTSM) was formed in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support the United Nations 2007 Global Road Safety Week.

To find out more about GYTSM, visit the NOYS site:

To read the WHO’s World report on child injury prevention, click here:

To find out more about JH-IIRU’s global road safety work, visit our publication list here, as well as our special issues on the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program:

More than 5 million deaths are caused by injuries globally each year, resulting in devastating social and economic costs. These costs are especially high in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where health systems are struggling to prioritize injuries as a significant health concern. In LMICs, the economic losses associated with road traffic injuries (RTIs) alone are estimated to be $100 billion annually.

Given the devastating extent of this burden, there is an urgent need to push injury prevention to the forefront of public health initiatives and to understand the costs associated with injury, yet there is a lack of injury-related economic evidence from LMICs.

This is the conclusion JH-IIRU team members, including Hadley KH Wesson and associate director, Abdulgafoor M. Bachani, reached in their recent publication, “The cost of injury and trauma care in low- and middle-income countries: A review of economic evidence,” in the journal Health Policy and Planning.

The goals of the paper are to 1) summarize the body of economic evidence on injury in LMICs; 2) assess the quality of cost-effectiveness studies using standard methods to highlight the role of economic data as a tool for injury-prevention advocacy; and 3) to provide recommendations regarding economic evaluations in LMICs.

The study found that while there are a relatively significant number of studies exploring the costs of injuries or hospitalizations due to injury in LMICs, a small fraction were complete economic studies, making it difficult to generalize costs of injury at regional or global levels. Despite the study’s limitations, the economic burden of injury is unquestionable and low-cost interventions such as traffic enforcement, installation of speed bumps, motorcycle helmet legislation and drowning prevention programs, are possible with support and investment from stakeholders and policy-makers.

Access the full study here:

Recently, a consortium of seven partners led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Seattle and including Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, and WHO released the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010).

This study, a systematic and comprehensive assessment of data on global disease, injuries and risk over two decades was published in the Lancet. It consists of seven articles, each containing a wealth of data on different diseases and represents a collaboration of 486 scientists from 302 institutions in 50 countries.

One of the main findings from GBD 2010 are that huge gaps remain the progress of public health for some regions of the world. For example, while fewer people are dying from infectious diseases such as HIV and malaria, deaths from road traffic injuries have increased by almost half. 

The study also recognizes the increasing burden of all types of disability, specifically from trauma, and its strain on populations.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit is dedicated to identifying effective solutions to the growing burden of injuries in low- and middle-income populations, influencing public policy and practice and advancing the field of injury prevention throughout the world. The Unit recognizes the findings from GBD 2010, renews our commitment to work on health priorities for populations around the world and calls on those in the health and research communities to do the same.

You can access the GBD 2010, which has been published in a special issue of the Lancet, here:

Unintentional injuries are a major cause of death and disability worldwide, especially among children. Each year, more than 875,000 children die from preventable injuries, with millions more injured or permanently disabled.  These injuries disproportionately affect children in low- and middle-income countries.  While significant progress has been made over the last several decades to understand the epidemiology of injuries in children, implementing effective solutions remains a global challenge.

Recently, members of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU), along with colleagues from the World Health Organization (WHO), published a study that estimates between 8,000 and 80,000 lives could potentially be saved each year if certain injury prevention interventions are implemented.

In “Saving 1000 Children a Day: The Potential of Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention,” published in the International Journal of Child and Adolescent Health, JH-IIRU faculty members worked with colleagues in the WHO’s Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability to estimate the total number of children’s lives that could be potentially saved worldwide through the implementation of interventions that have been shown to be effective.

The results of the team’s extensive literature review and analysis of existing interventions suggests that there might be tremendous benefits—up to 1000 children per day—that may be realized through enhanced coverage of existing interventions which have already been tried and tested.

To find out more about this paper, visit

To learn more about JH-IIRU, please contact us at

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According to the World Health Organization’s World Report on Disability, more than one billion people live with disabilities worldwide, the majority of whom reside in low- and middle-income countries. A significant percentage of those disabilities are caused by injuries, many of which are the result of road traffic crashes, falls, burns and acts of violence.

In 1992, the United Nations proclaimed 3 December of each year as International Day of Disabled Persons with the aim of promoting a better understanding about disability issues and increasing awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social economic and cultural life.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) understands that the growing burden of disability significantly affects the health and social impact of communities around the world. JH-IIRU is dedicated to identifying effective solutions to the burden of injuries and the resulting disabilities in low- and middle-income populations, influencing public policy and practice, and advancing the field of injury prevention throughout the world.

That is why JH-IIRU supports the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and believes the one billion people worldwide living with disabilities have the right to participate fully in their societies.

To find out more about the International Day of Disabled Persons, click here:

For more disability-related information:

Injury patterns in long-term refugee populations: a survey of Afghan refugees

Unintentional injuries: magnitude, prevention, and control

MENTOR-VIP: Piloting a global mentoring program for injury and violence prevention

Patterns of pediatric injury in South Africa: an analysis of hospital data between 1997 and 2006

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