Meeting of National Focal Points on Injury and Violence Prevention
The Meeting of National Focal Points on Injury and Violence Prevention was conducted in Manila, the Philippines, from 15 to 17 May 2006 by the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific.
The objectives of the meeting were to:
(1) review the global and regional initiatives in various areas of injury and violence prevention;
(2) assess the state of development and implementation of national programmes/action plans/profiles on injury and violence prevention of participating countries, and identify areas that require strengthening; and
(3) recommend the future course of action to be undertaken by countries as well as WHO and other global and regional partner agencies.
The meeting was attended by 14 participants who were technical officials of the Ministry of Health and/or other national agencies and institutions who were the focal points of injury and/or violence prevention. The participants were from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Palau, the Philippines, Republic of Korea and Viet Nam. There were a WHO temporary adviser from Australia, seven representatives from international partner agencies and non-governmental organizations, including Handicap International, Korea Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, two observers from the Safe Community Network in the Republic of Korea, The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC) and UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office in Thailand and the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health in Hong Kong. In addition, seven WHO staff members served as the meeting secretariat.
The proceedings comprised an introduction to various WHO global and regional initiatives related to injury and violence prevention; regional partners’ programmes and activities in injury and violence prevention; country reports on national profile on injury and violence prevention; discussion on a draft Regional Framework for Action on Injury and Violence Prevention; and group discussions on strengthening national capacity and on promoting regional cooperation in various aspects of injury and violence prevention.
The meeting participants concluded the following:
(1) Review of the global and regional initiatives
Injury and violence are major public health issues in the world. Injuries are disproportionately affecting the lower and middle-income countries.
Responding to these problems, WHO at the global level has focused on building capacity for Member States through publishing and launching reports such as the world reports on violence and health and on road traffic injury prevention to boost understanding of the problems. In the same effort, a number of manuals and guidelines, such as guidelines for developing policies to prevent injury and violence; guidelines for injury surveillance; TEACH-VIP; manual on pre-hospital trauma care, and on essential trauma care have been made available to countries.
There are other initiatives in the Region being implemented that relate to injury prevention activities, including: suicide prevention, prevent of domestic violence, mass casualty management and childhood injury prevention. Injury and violence prevention initiatives are being integrated with non-communicable disease activities for joint action, including advocacy and safety planning. Joining the efforts of WHO in the field, regional partners, including The Alliance for Safe Children, Handicap International. Safe Community Network, UNICEF and others have been implementing a number of initiatives including: improving knowledge about the injury problem through surveys and research; and promoting the use of helmets, creating safe homes, safe schools and safe communities.
(2) Assessment of national capacity and areas that require further strengthening
Whilst there are great variations in the burdens throughout the Western Pacific Region, injuries and violence are still leading causes of death and disability in all countries of the Region. Despite the challenge, the progress that Member States have made on developing action to address this burden is commendable.
Prioritization for violence and injury prevention is gradually increasing in many of the WPR countries. Member States, from low to high income, participating in this meeting described that they were in the process of measuring the burdens of violence and injury and are designing and implementing preventative measures and actions.
Reported leading causes of injury death and disability show many similarities between the countries of the Region, including road traffic injuries, drowning, violence and suicide. These areas should be considered regional priorities and are all amenable to prevention. Due to these similarities, opportunities for regional collaboration should be encouraged and facilitated.
Common themes have linked the various discussions during this meeting. These include the need to strengthen: the collection and utilization of data, systems for pre-hospital and trauma care, and multi-sectoral cooperation and workforce capacity for implementation of violence and injury prevention activities. Additionally the need for and importance of national action plans has been highlighted.
(3) Recommended future course of action
(a) The draft Regional Framework for Action should be further developed taking account of country report and group discussions and comments. The key points to be included were:• health sector orientation;
• emphasis on multisectoral approach;
• align with existing regional strategies and initiatives;
• regional targets to be further considered;
• countries to set their own national targets; and
• countries to work together on specific priorities;
(b) Further consultation on the draft Regional Framework should follow revisions, including other Member States, such as those in the Pacific.
(c) The participants supported the possible adoption of the Regional Framework for Action, a revised by the WHO Regional Committee, and pledged to begin implementing the revised Regional Framework to guide their national plans.
(d) Country profiles should be updated as required and linked to national plans as a monitoring tool.
(e) Participants suggested that the implementation of the Framework should be reviewed at an appropriate time in the future.