In Portugal, injuries kill almost 2500 persons, annually, further causing harm and disability to millions more. Unintentional injuries (ICD codes V01-X59) account for 52% of all deaths due to external causes. Moreover, mortality of young people aged between 5 and 24 represents 44% of the global rate. The standardisation of date displays a ‘picture’ of Portuguese injuries during the lifecycle.
The Ministry of Health has long recognised injuries, as a public health problem. In 2009, a National Programme based on a prevention-oriented approach has been developed with representatives of both governmental and non-governmental organisations and stakeholders.
The National Programme covers issues, such as data collection, prevention, capacity-building and advocacy. Strategies encompass the strengthening of community action with environmental change, legislative measures, support for the victims and their families, research, assessment and cooperation among the various sectors. This policy document, opened for public discussion, was subsequently enriched with critics and suggestions.
Within the scope of the National Health Plan, the National Programme focus on safety promotion and injury prevention in specific settings, such as home, schools, workplaces, sports and leisure facilities, further explores environmental-related factors, and also highlights the interface among different sectors. In 2009, a national campaign on child injury prevention was launched, based on WHO posters and research on the effectiveness of a science-based teaching intervention was promoted. Finally, guidelines were produced to support surveillance and evaluation. The Ministry of Health shall take the leadership in the development of this Programme, up to 2016.
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