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Injury prevention as a global health initiative
  1. Brian D Johnston
  1. Dr B D Johnston, Editor Injury Prevention, BMJ Journals, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JR, UK; ipeditor{at}bmjgroup.com

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The recent 9th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion was attended by over 1100 participants and featured hundreds of posters and oral presentations, plenary sessions, and ancillary meetings of various affiliated interest groups (including the editorial board of this journal). Hosted by the good people of Merida, Mexico, the conference was an enjoyable event that offered an opportunity to forge or renew connections with colleagues from around the world.

Sessions highlighted the sobering statistics familiar to readers of this journal: the importance of injury in the global burden of disease and the disproportionate share of that burden borne in low and middle income countries (LMIC).1 There was optimism, too, in reports (many coming from LMIC) of programs and policies that seem to be effective at mitigating the impact of injury. In addition, conspicuous attendance by ministerial officials from a variety of countries bespoke a commitment to this issue that will promote progress.

But, despite the hope and fellowship, I was left with a strange unease. The conference was, in fact, a rather modest event. By way of contrast, the 2008 International AIDS conference to be held nearby in Mexico City expects to host 25 000 participants and 3000 journalists.2 There will be policy papers, declarations, youth forums, celebrity speakers, and intense worldwide media attention. Why, I wondered, was the premier international conference on injury not heralded by a similar outpouring of media interest and announcements of major policy initiatives? Where were the donor …

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