The problem of children’s injuries in low-income countries

Unintentional injuries are the cause of death and disability for millions of children every year in low-income countries. Challenging living conditions, heavy traffic, a lack of safe play space and an absence of child care options, together with a disproportionate vulnerability to injury, combine to put children at high risk. Inaccessible and unaffordable emergency services add to the number of resulting deaths and impairments. Yet this major public health problem receives relatively little attention. Because communicable disease and nutritional problems continue to rank higher as causes of child mortality and morbidity in most of the developing world, injury is perceived as a less serious problem. Existing research is scanty and is largely limited to hospital-based studies, which cannot present a comprehensive picture of either causes or outcomes. Development of preventive measures is hampered not only by limited health budgets, but by a tendency (not unique to low-income countries) to see injuries as random events, and hence as unpredictable and uncontrollable. There is an urgent need for more research that can contribute to effective analyses of the situation, and especially for locally-based research and record keeping, which is most likely to contribute to awareness and to practical and well-targeted prevention measures.

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Title: The problem of children’s injuries in low-income countries

Author(s): Sheridan Bartlett

Publication Date: 2002

Publisher: Health Policy and Planning