A review of national policies and programs to prevent unintentional injuries in the Americas
Injuries are a global public health problem, with injury mortality increasing in many regions. We describe a survey of injury policies and programs in 23 countries in the Americas. Most countries surveyed (87%) perceived unintentional injuries to be a significant public health problem. When asked about actual policy agendas, however, just one-fourth (26%) of the countries ranked unintentional injuries among policy makers' top five concerns. Approximately half of the countries reported having a national injury prevention strategy, injury prevention coordinator, or consultative group. Virtually all countries with national strategies and consultative groups had established them in the 1990s, suggesting that concern about injuries is both recent and growing. Three-fourths (74%) reported that their country had a surveillance system to monitor injury-related mortality and, to a lesser extent, morbidity. The study's results suggest that most policies and programs for the prevention and control of unintentional injuries have been developed in the past 10 years, and primarily address motor vehicle injuries. It is essential that current efforts be both broadened and strengthened so that the societal burden of unintentional injuries in the Americas can be reduced.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2000-03-01