Violence and Injury Prevention

National injury prevention policies, strategies and plans of action

Several governments around the world have developed national injury prevention policies, strategies and/or plans of action. Although these instruments vary in nature and scope, they serve to guide a nation's efforts to prevent injury-related death and disability. WHO's World report on road traffic injury prevention and World report on violence and health call upon Member States to develop such tools for the prevention of road traffic injuries and violence respectively. WHO recommends that such policies, strategies and plans of action be concrete and contain objectives, priorities, timetables and mechanisms for evaluation.

WHO suggests that responsibility be assigned for all stages of their implementation and that they be developed in a participatory manner, involving both government and nongovernment actors alike. Some policies are developed by and for a single sector such as health, transport, justice or education, but ideally they should be developed in a multi-sectoral fashion. It is also recommended that policy makers and planners take into account at an early stage the human and financial requirements that will be necessary for their implementation.

Most national injury prevention policies, strategies and/or plans of action currently in use around the world originate in high-income countries. Few low- and middle-income countries have such policies, although more have been developed in recent years.

Of those which presently exist, some are comprehensive pertaining to all injury-related mortality and morbidity, while others focus on a particular type of injury such as road traffic injuries or violence-related injuries or a particular group of intended beneficiaries such as children, youth or women. Much depends on the burden posed by these public health concerns in the country and the county's willingness and ability to recognize these as issues which need to be addressed and to take action.