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Burden of injury frustrates prevention workers

The increasing burden of injury frustrates prevention workers

Injury prevention workers are frustrated that injury remains the leading cause of death in people under the age of 44 years, despite efforts to make the environment safer.

Australian researcher Rod McClure says that as a global health problem, injury is one of increasing, rather than decreasing, importance.

Dr McClure is research director of Injury Prevention and Control (Australia) Limited and will be speaking to the Injury Prevention Network of Aoteoroa New Zealand (IPANZ) Weaving the Strands Conference 2003 in Wellington this week.

“We have been able to make the environment a little bit safer but we just haven’t yet achieved the results we need,” he says.

Dr McClure says for example road crash hospitalisations and fatalities have not decreased in Australasia over the last five years. And the problem, he says, is in the translation.

“A lot more research needs to be done to investigate how to get these important injury prevention messages across to the community. We know what works, what we need to know is how to make it work.”

Because there are so many different injury categories affecting such a broad spectrum of people, Dr McClure is recommending that communities become much more involved in the formation of injury prevention strategies.

“One single message is not going to solve all the injury problems we have because there’s so many different kinds of injuries. Risks vary according to age, attitude, social economic and cultural groupings and occupation. That’s why we need to work with communities to find out how best to reach them,” he says. “We need to develop models to allow the general public’s perspective to be understood so they can become a part of the answer rather than just having someone from an ivory tower throwing ideas out. We need to work together to identify the issues and come up with workable solutions.”

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