Injury Prevention & Safety Promotion Conference

The latest world conference in injury prevention was hosted by the Mexico National Institute for Public Health and co-sponsored by the Mexico Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.

The latest world conference in injury prevention was hosted by the Mexico National Institute for Public Health and co-sponsored by the Mexico Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.

The International Life Saving Federation was advised by WHO to attend and become affiliated to the global injury prevention community.

ILS was represented at this conference by Dr. Steve Beerman, Medical Chairperson. Dr. Richard Franklin from the RLSS-Australia was also in attendance as a presenter.

9th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion
Merida, Mexico, March 15-18, 2008

The conference was attended by more than 1100 participants and featured over 300 oral presentations and another 200 poster presentations. The abstract book contained approximately 800 submissions. In addition, there were WHO Regional meetings, workshops, invited plenary sessions and injury network meetings at this event.

The World Conference with a focus on Injury Prevention is held every 2 years. The previous conference was in Durban, South Africa in 2006. The location of the 2010 World Conference on Injury Prevention is not yet determined.

Drowning prevention was not a prominent feature of this conference program. There were 38 oral presentations and 13 poster presentations which focused on the drowning issue surveillance, and/or drowning reduction.

These papers came from all regions of the world. Most of the presentations were from academic institutions and few were linked to a national lifesaving organisation or ILS. The conference agenda was dominated by road traffic accident and violence reduction issues.

The global drowning issue needs advocacy within the public health and injury prevention community. Many of the participants at this conference are government health leaders and academics. There is also some NGO representation, including ILS.

The opportunity for discussions and linkage with potential collaborative organizations and people is large. The opportunity for capacity building and learning is high.

On behalf of ILS, I made the contact with WHO Headquarters officials and WHO Regional Directors and advisors. I also made contact with the representatives of UNICEF and Safe Kids Worldwide and their regional representatives from Asia and Africa. I had discussions with The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC) representatives and other many of the academic and government representatives with drowning reduction interests.

On behalf of ILS, I attended a meeting of the WHO Pre-Hospital Trauma Group and the International Society for Violence and Injury Prevention. I also attended a meeting of the Injury Prevention Initiative For Africa (IPIFA). ILS and ILS member organization participation in these areas is invited.

ILS and ILS member organizations could learn, contribute and collaborate on primary and secondary prevention of drowning. It is also valuable to see examples and learn from the progress on injury prevention issues in other areas of focus. (ie bike helmets, falls, burns etc)

There are some themes that should be considered by ILS and ILS Member Organizations. Injury prevention to enhance health, forms and important aspect of human rights and the safety/security agenda. Finding social solutions, delivered by the target population leaders, with their agenda and culture as the highest priority, is the ethical, effective and preferred approach for capacity development.

The historical parachute approach may be capacity reducing. Collaboration with skilled professionals and technical resources to enhance the capacity of a region to reduce drowning effectively saves lives. Balancing competing economic and political needs by thoughtful focus on injury prevention, can be effective to research, scale up and deliver information and programs for at-risk populations. NGO’s are the most effective advocates for injury prevention issues.

Turning Knowledge into Action: Don’t Stop with a Report

The biggest mistake is doing nothing because you can only do a little.

ILS and ILS Member Organizations should be aware of the following Injury Prevention Conferences:

The 2nd Asia Pacific Injury Prevention Conference
November 4-6, 2008 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The opportunity for a stream of conference sessions and a pre-meeting workshop on drowning prevention issues have been offered. This meeting is organized by the Ministry of Health of Vietnam in collaberaton with WHO, UNICEF and the Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health.

International Workshop on Media and Tool Development Preventing Injuries
National Campaign development on risk taking behavior in adolescents, 7-8 April 2008, Vienna Austria:

World Congress on Sports Injury Prevention
26 – 28 June 2008 in Tromso, Norway:

2nd European Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion
October 9-10, 2008 in Paris, France:

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Steve Beerman
Medical Committee Chair
International Life Saving Federation