Intended for healthcare professionals


The continuing global challenge of injury

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 30 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1557

The UK is lagging behind

  1. David H Stone, director (,
  2. Stephen Jarvis, Donald Court professor of community child health,
  3. Barry Pless, editor, Injury Prevention
  1. Paediatric Epidemiology and Community Health (PEACH) Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G3 8SJ
  2. University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE8 1EB

    News p 1561

    At the start of the 21st century injury prevention in most countries (including industrialised ones) is poorly targeted, inadequately funded, and seldom evaluated. Too many people—particularly children—continue to die or suffer unnecessarily. Unsurprisingly, the impact of this public health failure on health services is colossal: in the United States, for example, injuries were first out of 29 conditions ranked according to hospital days in 1994.1 The lack of interest in injury prevention is puzzling as there is evidence that when governments act much can be done to prevent this leading cause of premature death and disability.

    Part of the problem is inadequate information on which to estimate the incidence and outcomes of most forms of injury. We know too little about the underlying causes, incidence, prevalence, long term consequences, and costs of injury. Most of what we do know relates to mortality. Of the 50.5 million deaths worldwide in 1990, 10% were due to injury,2 and such deaths are projected to increase from 5.1 million in 1990 to 8.4 …

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