The World Health Organization is calling for better health resources for poor communities in a report released Tuesday, which shows that injuries and violence take the lives of some 12 000 people worldwide daily.
The WHO report, Preventing injuries and violence: an overview, shows that 3 of the top 5 causes of death among people aged 5–29 years are injury-related, namely road traffic injuries, homicide, and suicide.
In addition, injury-related killers are drowning, falls, burns, and poisoning, among others.
Of the 4.4 million annual injury-related deaths, roughly 1 in 3 results from road traffic crashes, 1 in 6 from suicide, 1 in 9 from homicide, and 1 in 61 from war and conflict.
“People living in poverty are significantly more likely to suffer an injury than the wealthy,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“The health sector has a major role in addressing these health inequities and preventing injuries and violence through collecting data, developing policies, providing services and programming for prevention and care, building capacities, and advocating for greater attention to underserved communities.”
The world health body says many effective and low-cost interventions are available.
For example, in Spain, setting the default speed limit for cities at 30 kilometers an hour improves road safety; in Viet Nam, providing swimming training prevents dr(19 miles per hour) owning, says the WHO.
In the Philippines, legislation to raise the age of sexual consent from 12 years to 16 to protect minors from sexual violence is bringing positive change.
“However, in most countries, political will and investment are lacking as measures are not in place at sufficient levels,” says the report.
“Accelerated action is needed to avoid this unnecessary suffering of millions of families every year,” notes Dr. Etienne Krug, who heads the WHO’s Social Determinants of Health section.
“We know what needs to be done, and these effective measures must be brought to scale across countries and communities to save lives.”
The WHO said the report is being released during the 14th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, currently taking place in Adelaide, Australia.