Violence and Injury Prevention

National injury prevention experts to benefit from release of new WHO guidelines on developing national plans

2 April 2006

Injuries and violence are threats to health in every country of the world. Worldwide, more than five million people die each year as a result of some form of injury and many more remain disabled for life. Given current trends, the global burden of injuries and violence is expected to rise considerably during the coming decades, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries.

Despite the growing significance of this problem, few countries have national policies, strategies or plans of action for injury and violence prevention. Through the release of Developing policies to prevent violence and injuries: guidelines for policy-makers and planners, WHO provides guidance to countries wishing to develop national, and by extension local, policies in this area. Developing such policies, strategies and plans of action requires a number of pre-conditions, including the identification of focal points to lead the effort, the establishment of links across ministries and with civil society and other stakeholders, and political commitment at all levels.

Developing policies to prevent violence and injuries: guidelines for policy-makers and planners describes the necessary steps for creating an injury and violence prevention policy instrument. These guidelines cover all the steps that are necessary for developing such policies up to and including approval by governmental and political authorities. It also explains the rationale behind the need for such tools, the importance of the health sector in their development and the link between policies and legislation. The guidelines are primarily aimed at representatives of government ministries that are concerned with violence and injury, in particular, ministries of health, transport, justice, interior, welfare, family affairs, education, housing, labour, agriculture, sport and consumer affairs.