Injuries–resulting from traffic collisions, drowning, poisoning, falls or burns - and violence - from assault , self-inflicted violence or acts of war–kill more than five million people worldwide annually and cause harm to millions more. They account for 9% of global mortality, and are a threat to health in every country of the world. For every death, it is estimated that there are dozens of hospitalizations, hundreds of emergency department visits and thousands of doctors’ appointments. A large proportion of people surviving their injuries incurs temporary or permanent disabilities.

Injuries and violence can be studied and documented, and their causes understood and acted upon. Research has provided clear evidence that certain interventions can prevent injuries and violence, including:

  • seat-belts, helmets and enforced blood alcohol limits to prevent road traffic injuries;
  • child-resistant containers to prevent poisonings;
  • home hazard modification to prevent falls among the elderly;
  • pool fencing to reduce the risk of drowning;
  • treatment of depression to prevent suicide;
  • school-based educational programmes to prevent intimate partner violence
  • home visitation programmes to reduce child maltreatment.

WHO works to prevent injuries and violence, mitigate their consequences and enhance the quality of life for persons with disabilities. It does so by supporting efforts to improve data collection; develop science-based approaches to prevention, control and rehabilitation; disseminate proven and promising interventions; improve services for persons with disabilities, as well as victims and survivors of injuries and violence and their families; enhance teaching and training programmes; and create multidisciplinary policies and action plans.

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