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Intentional and unintentional injuries represent approximately 11% of the global mortality and 13% of all disability adjusted life years lost every year. Recognising the magnitude of the problem, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently taken important steps to increase its injury prevention activities. In March 2000, a Department for Injuries and Violence Prevention (VIP) was created. For the first time, in 50 years, injuries and violence prevention now has a place on the WHO organizational chart.
The department is located in the Cluster for Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health. Injuries and violence prevention is not a new area of work in WHO. WHO has conducted activities in this area for more than two decades. However, the human resources and attention devoted to the topic have recently increased dramatically.
The mission of VIP is to spearhead global action to prevent violence and unintentional injuries as major threats to public health. Its goals are to:
Act as a facilitating authority for international science based prevention efforts.
Promote and facilitate international research.
Promote improved standards of teaching and training.
Foster multidisciplinary collaboration between relevant global, regional, and national stakeholders.
Compile and disseminate “best practices” for violence and unintentional injury prevention and control.
Facilitate implementation of violence and unintentional injury prevention and control at country level.
Collate, analyse, and disseminate global data on violence and unintentional injuries.
To date, most injury prevention efforts have occurred in high income countries. And yet, low and middle income countries have higher injury mortality rates than high income countries in all regions of the world. Therefore it is urgent to develop strategies that are appropriate, cost efficient, and effective in low and middle income countries, taking into account the complexity of the problem in these countries and the experience from what works in other countries. Developing strategies …