WHO/Unicef World Report on child injury is 'a wake up call' 

Etienne Krug, WHO Director of Injury Prevention, with Vietnamese schoolchildren 
Etienne Krug, WHO Director of Injury Prevention, with Vietnamese schoolchildren

The World Report on child injury prevention, published by the World Health Organization and Unicef, has been described as a ‘wake up call on child road deaths’ by Lord Robertson, chairman of the Make Roads Safe campaign.

Welcoming the report, Lord Robertson said: “"Road traffic injuries in developing countries have reached epidemic proportions and a coordinated response is urgently needed. If we are serious about halting the rise in child road injury the international community must agree a decade of sustained action between 2010 and 2020."

The new report, which pulls together the most comprehensive range of available data on all types of childhood injury, was launched at an event in Hanoi, Vietnam, on 10th December attended by the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong. The report finds that road crashes are the leading cause of child injury, with 260,000 children (up to the age of 18) killed on the world’s roads every year, and another 10 million injured. Speaking by video, Unicef Executive Director Ann Veneman said: “Child injuries can, and must, be prevented. It is up to all of us to keep the world’s children safe”. WHO Director General Margaret Chan, also appearing by video, said: “What we need now is action”.

Unicef’s representative in Vietnam, Jesper Morch, speaking at the launch, commented that Unicef had been focused on childhood disease for the under 5’s, in line with Millennium Development Goal targets. Recognising the scale of injury and death to the over 5’s he said: “The time has come to review and revise this approach. Unless we broaden our focus the development community risks losing its investments in under-5 health”. 

Following the launch participants including WHO Injury Director Etienne Krug, World Report editor Margie Peden, Safe Kids Worldwide President Mitch Stoller, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Alastair Cox and the FIA Foundation’s deputy director Saul Billingsley attended a ‘Helmet for Kids’ event organised by the AIP Foundation. The helmet campaign work by the AIP Foundation, which has distributed more than 400,000 motorcycle helmets to children in Vietnam, is highlighted in the World Report on child injury prevention as the kind of intervention needed to bring down casualty figures.

Speaking at the World Report launch, Etienne Krug said: “This is much more than a report. It is an agenda for action around the world”.

Click here to download the full report >

Click here to read a related story in The Guardian >