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World Health Assembly adopts resolution targeted at saving the lives of children from injury

In May 2011, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on child injury prevention, the first ever on the topic. The news was welcomed by Joanne Vincenten, Director of the HEAL member organisation, European Child Safety Alliance. “The resolution should serve as a further impetus for Member States to support uptake of evidence based measures. Injury is still the leading cause of death and disability for children in every Member State in Europe".

The resolution, spurred by the WHO/UNICEF World report on child injury prevention, provides a platform to support action on preventing child injuries, which are the leading cause of death for children over the age of 5 years. More than 830,000 children die each year from road traffic crashes, drowning, burns, falls and poisoning.

Under the resolution, Member States are urged to prioritise the prevention of child injuries; implement the recommendations of the World report on child injury prevention; and develop and put into practice a multi-sectoral policy and plan of action with realistic targets.

It calls upon the WHO Director-General to collaborate with Member States in establishing science-based policies to prevent child injury; to encourage research, build capacity, and mobilise resources for child injury prevention; and to continue providing technical support to countries to develop and implement child injury prevention measures and strengthen emergency and rehabilitation services. The resolution also calls upon the WHO Director-General to establish a network with organisations of the United Nations system, international development partners and nongovernmental organizations to ensure effective coordination and implementation of activities for child injury prevention.

Joanne Vincenten added: "We are thrilled that the World Health Assembly has adopted the resolution on child injury prevention. Child injury creates a huge environmental burden, annually killing thousands of children and sending hundreds of thousands to hospital or emergency services, sometimes leading to life-long disabilities. Injury is also the leading cause of inequity in childhood death in Europe, so this is not only a health concern in Africa or Asia."

Last updated on 7 June 2011

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