Violence and Injury Prevention

Strengthening care for the injured: success stories and lessons learned from around the world

Efforts to improve care of the injured globally received a major boost in 2007 when the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted resolution WHA60.22 on trauma and emergency care services. This called upon governments and WHO to increase their efforts to improve care for victims of injury and other medical emergencies. It also called upon WHO to raise awareness about affordable ways in which trauma and emergency care services can be strengthened, especially through universally applicable means such as improvements in organization and planning.

In response to these requests WHO collected this set of case studies, documenting success stories and lessons learned from several countries. Through this publication, WHO seeks to increase communication and the exchange of ideas among those working in the field of trauma care. Included in the publication are case studies from prehospital, hospital-based, rehabilitation, and system-wide settings, and from countries in all regions of the world and at all socioeconomic levels.

These case studies have common themes and lessons learned. One of the most important of these is the need for perseverance, as many of the improvements took years to implement. Another lesson is the need for attention to detail. There was no magic bullet involved.

Improvements occurred primarily by attention to detail in planning and organization. There are also important lessons learned about the role of health policy in extending trauma care improvements nationwide, beyond centres of excellence, and about the importance of using advocacy to increase political commitment, whether at the national, provincial or institutional level. Finally, the case studies show that improvements can be made even in the poorest and most difficult of circumstances, and that even well-resourced environments can benefit from improved organization and monitoring of trauma care services.