WHO African Region: Ethiopia

Violence and injury prevention

Injury and violence are becoming leading causes of death and disability worldwide. In the Global Burden of Disease 2000 database injury is a leading cause of death for all age groups except persons 60 years of age or older. Injuries effects mainly people of productive age and children. Road traffic injury is the leading cause of injury related deaths, followed by self-inflicted injuries. In young age groups other types of injuries including drowning, war injuries, interpersonal violence, poisoning and fires are represented as well, as a leading cause of death. In fact, in the age groups 5-14 and 15-29, injuries account for 7 of the 15 leading causes of death, road traffic injury being toppled only by HIV/aids and childhood illnesses.

Prevention of road traffic injuries includes a strong commitment at a national level, in order to provide the rules and regulations that promote road safety, e.g. laws on seat belts, helmet use, drinking and driving, speed, licensing and control. It also includes other things as awareness raising, road design, urban planning and pre-hospital care.

Violence is prevented by a combination of many interventions, which reflects this multifaceted problem, i.e. addressing individual factors, caring for victims of violence, monitoring public spaces, addressing gender inequalities and addressing larger cultural, social and economic factors that contribute to violence. It includes working with families, victims and perpetrators, making the health sector more sensitive to detect violence, strengthening rules and regulations for protection and violence prevention, i.e. child protection and control of small arms in the society.

Disability is caused by communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases and injuries. Thus, the prevention of disability is a cross-covering issue for governments, international organizations and NGOs. In countries, there are often several authorities dealing with different aspects of the issue. Inclusive education is a question for the Ministry of Education, the health sector deals with care and rehabilitation and a third governing body is responsible for vocational training, anti-discrimination issues etc. Since the 70s WHO has promoted the implementation of Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in all member states, for persons affected by disability.

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