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Every day, almost 13,000 people lose their lives to injury worldwide. Injuries are a leading cause of death among young people and have an immeasurably pervasive and deleterious impact on society. Among the major causes of injuries are road traffic injuries (RTIs), violence, suicide, burns, drowning, falls, and poisonings. In contrast to their massive burden and preventability, injuries have been largely neglected from the global health agenda. According to the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, 4.9 million people died in 2015 from injuries (Table 25-1).1 That’s over 70% more than the 2.9 million deaths due to HIV, TB, and malaria combined.1 Conversely, those three diseases received nearly 36% of global health funding in 2017, while injuries lumped together in an “other health focus areas” category received under 12% of total funding.2 In addition to being a leading cause of global death, injuries are also a major contributor to global morbidity. Many more people suffer from the long-term physical and psychological consequences of nonfatal injuries than those who lose their lives. Indeed, while accounting for just over 8% of global deaths,3 injuries contributed 11% of disability-adjusted life years in 2016 (DALYs).4


In recent decades, the global burden of injuries has decreased. Transdisciplinary, evidence-based strategies have effectively proven that injuries, when addressed through a public health lens, can be prevented. However, a vast majority of these interventions and subsequent societal benefits are located in high-income countries (HICs). For example, since 1990, DALYs from RTIs in HICs have declined significantly, but in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), they have increased.4 There is a clear need for collaboration in global health community to prevent injuries and violence in LMICS, where 90% of the world’s injury deaths occur.5 In this chapter, we outline the burden and risk factors associated with the leading mechanisms of injury globally, with a particular focus on LMICs. We also identify evidence-based strategies for preventing injuries and their applicability in diverse global settings. Greater implementation of proven effective prevention strategies, as well as even a moderate investment in research on injury mechanisms with less well-developed strategies would considerably decrease the unacceptably high burden of injury globally.


RTIs are a major preventable global health burden. Every year, RTIs claim the lives of more than 1.3 million people1 and cause nonfatal injuries to up to 50 million people worldwide.6 RTIs are largest contributor to injury-related DALYs7 and the leading ...

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