Violence and Injury Prevention

2002 annual report

Foreword

I am pleased to share with you the first annual report of WHO’s Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention (VIP). This summarizes the many activities we undertook during 2002 – not an easy task, since the year was such a full and dynamic one for our recently-established department.

The World report on violence and health, released in October 2002 after three years of preparation, has undoubtedly been the department’s most visible product. Hundreds of press articles have been published and dozens of policy meetings have already taken place around the world to discuss its implications. As a result, many Member States have started to develop national reports, plans of action, networks and other activities stemming from the Report and designed to prevent violence. In the coming years, we will actively continue to follow up the campaign around the World report on violence and health. The context for doing so will be a favourable one, given the WHO Executive Board’s endorsement in January 2003 of a proposed resolution on implementing the Report’s recommendations.

The Five-year WHO strategy for road traffic injury prevention guides our work in this area. During 2002, we started implementing it by developing several technical documents with guidance on training and on best practices in traffic injury prevention. The bulk of our work, however, went towards providing technical assistance to several countries. This will continue in 2003, while at the same time we prepare the joint WHO–World Bank World report on road traffic injury prevention, to be released on World Health Day 2004, which will be dedicated to “Road Safety”.

The year 2002 was also an opportunity to strengthen our partnerships with relevant WHO Collaborating Centres, sister United Nations agencies, and key nongovernmental organizations. A meeting to discuss collaboration on preventing interpersonal violence brought together ten UN agencies. This work resulted in the publication in January 2003 of the Guide to United Nations resources and activities for the prevention of interpersonal violence.

All these documents and activities are just the beginning of increased scientific efforts towards the prevention of what is a major cause of ill-health worldwide. Injuries and violence are among the leading causes of death for all age groups. The attention devoted to injuries and violence and the efforts to prevent them still remain minimal compared to the magnitude of the problem. The Department will provide Member States and partners with tools to pursue injury and violence prevention and control, so as to prevent and mitigate the suffering they cause to tens of millions of people around the world each year.

Dr Etienne Krug
Director, Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention
Geneva, 31 January 2003

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