Violence and Injury Prevention

Guidance for surveillance of injuries due to landmines and unexploded ordnance



Mines/UXOs are a public health problem not only because of the death and disability that they cause, but also because they render large tracts of land unusable and prevent whole communities from accessing essential commodities. The resulting disruption to economies and to disease prevention programmes leads to malnutrition and infectious disease, because access to curative services is rendered difficult.

The precise scale of the problem is not known; it is estimated that 26,000 people are killed or maimed by mines/UXOs every year (ICRC 1997). This figure is widely quoted and is an estimate from experience gained at hospitals of the ICRC. There is a need, however, for a more systematic collection of reliable and valid data (Krug 1998). Mines/UXOs are endemic in many countries, yet comprehensive information is not being collated from the health facilities where victims present. Similarly, few community surveys have been conducted to better understand the impact of mines/UXOs on people’s lives.

This document is concerned with identifying the scale of the problem using hospital based information. It presents a tool which, if used widely, would lead to a better understanding of the size of the problem at a global level. Such a system could be integrated into existing health information systems and could be used for monitoring change resulting from variations in mine/UXO use and preventive interventions.