WHO calls for action on injury and violence prevention

News release

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that unless concerted action is taken now, problems associated with injuries and violence will increase in the Western Pacific Region.

"Together, we must scale up efforts to meet these challenges," Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, said at the World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion on 1 October in Wellington, New Zealand. "I urge you to deliberate intensely, discuss openly and map out your important role in the prevention of injuries and violence."

Injuries and violence cause more than five million deaths globally each year—more than the total number of people killed by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. The Western Pacific Region accounts for 1.2 million of these deaths—about one quarter of the global total.

"This figure is unacceptable," Dr Shin said, emphasizing the need for strong leadership to make whole-of-government and whole-of-society solutions work. "We know that many injuries and violence can be prevented through the collaboration of relevant sectors."

Although the Western Pacific Region has made good progress in advancing key multisectoral collaboration to prevent injury and violence, Dr Shin said many issues and challenges remain.

"The health sector, in particular, should work closely with a broad range of sectors and partners to develop a national policy and action plan that includes advocacy, surveillance and victim services," Dr Shin said.

At the recently concluded session of the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific held in Hanoi, Viet Nam, health ministers from the Region agreed to enhance efforts to prevent injuries and violence, especially road traffic injuries, violence against women, drownings and falls because they comprise the bulk of cases in the Region.

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