Pacific island countries meet to curb injury and violence

News release

NADI, Fiji, 30 March 2007—The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with Pacific island countries and areas, will meet next month as part of continuing global efforts to curb unintentional injuries and violence.

Participants from 15 Pacific island countries and areas will gather in Nadi from April 2 to 4 for a meeting on injury and violence prevention in the Pacific. The draft Regional Framework for Action on Injury and Violence Prevention will be discussed in depth at the meeting. Participants will also review global and regional initiatives in various areas of injury and violence prevention, as well as exchange information and identify areas that need strengthening.

While injury mortality rates in most Pacific island countries and areas are generally low, this is not the case in countries such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea. In addition, alcohol-related injuries, such as those caused by drink-driving and domestic violence, as well as suicide are also said to be a growing problem in some Pacific island countries.

Worldwide, an estimated 5.2 million people die every year from injuries. If current trends continue, road traffic injuries, suicide and violence will rank among the top 20 leading causes of death by 2030. In the Western Pacific Region, injuries and violence cause an estimated 1.2 million deaths annually, or nearly 3300 deaths every day, with suicides, traffic accidents and drowning accounting for the majority of cases.

Facts and Figures on injury and violence

General information

  • Over 93% of injuries in the Western Pacific Region occur in low-and middle-income countries, involving the 5–44 year age group in particular
  • Violence against women is often committed by husbands or intimate male partners
  • Physical violence in intimate relationships is often accompanied by psychological abuse
  • One third to over one half of cases of physical violence are accompanied by sexual abuse

Pacific island countries and areas

  • Drink-driving and domestic violence related to alcohol consumption is a growing problem
  • Suicide is believed to be a hidden problem (undocumented)
  • Estimated mortality rate per 100 000 population from unintentional injuries and violence (2002)

Pacific island countries and areas

American Samoa

  • Suicide – 10th leading cause of death (2003)

Cook Islands

  • Injury (including poisoning) – No. 1 leading cause of morbidity in Raratonga (392/100 000 population in 2003)
  • Injury and poisoning – sixth leading cause of death (2003)


  • Injury and poisoning – third leading cause of morbidity (2001)


  • Injury and poisoning – eighth leading cause of morbidity (2005)

New Caledonia

  • Injury – (including poisoning) – third leading cause of death (169 / 100 000 population in 2002)


  • Injuries from gunshots – leading cause of mortality in 2001
  • Accidental drowning – one of the five leading cause of death in 2001

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

  • Homicide and violence – 389 cases in 2000


  • Injuries (all types) – leading cause of morbidity

Papua New Guinea

  • Homicide and violence – 446 cases in 2000
  • Suicides – 60 cases in 2001


  • Homicide and violence – 223 cases in 2003
  • Suicide – 29 cases in 2003

For more information, please contact, Dr Hisashi Ogawa, WHO Regional Adviser in Healthy Settings and Environment, on (63 2) 528 9886 or e-mail: