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  1. Ivan Barry Pless
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ivan Barry Pless, Retired, 434 Lansdowne, Westmount, Quebec H3Y2V2, Canada; barry.pless{at}mcgill.ca

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A world without violence

On 11 December 2014, WHO and two United Nations agencies launched the first global status report on violence prevention. The report provides data and information from 133 participating countries, covering 88% of the world's population. Its goal is ‘to put violence firmly in the spotlight and stimulate action to prevent it’. Former board member Etienne Krug, now the director of the WHO Department for Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, wrote an op-ed to the report that describes what a world without violence would look like. Krug notes that although there are many paths to that end, too many countries are ‘either not aware of them, or are not willing to make the investments needed’. Although homicide rates have decreased globally by 16% since 2000, only one-third of countries are implementing the 18 ‘best buys’ for violence prevention, as described in the report. Similarly, 12 violence prevention laws that, while widely enacted, are only enforced by half of the world's countries. Krug concludes: ‘It is understood that violence will not go away overnight, but if countries garner the political will needed to put the right programs in place, enhance and enforce laws, and strengthen services for victims, one could imagine families and communities—and perhaps entire societies—free from violence’.

India struggles to reduce road deaths

In India, one expressway is about to be the site of a novel experiment to reduce crash fatalities that continue to be on the rise. Part of the rationale is that the survival rate of those seriously injured was <5% because of delays in providing first aid or treatment. The trial is based on the assumption that highways will be safer if road users and local communities are empowered. The goal is to decrease crashes by 50% over 18 months. Comment: Two serious concerns I have are the focus …

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