Ministerial Declaration on Violence and Injury Prevention

11/08/2008

On March 14 2008 the Ministers of Health of the Americas adopted a Ministerial Declaration on Violence and Injury Prevention in the city of Merida, Yucatán, Mexico.

By adopting the Declaration the Ministers of Health commit to.

  • recognise violence and injuries as epidemic public health problems in our countries;
  • increase efforts to prevent violence and injuries, through actions for the promotion of health within a broad perspective of safe, healthy and sustainable environments;
  • foster strategic agreements and alliances among the public and private sectors, as well as with non governmental organizations in order to develop national policies for the promotion of health and the prevention of violence and injury in order to decrease risks and consequences to the most vulnerable sectors of the population;
  • strengthen or create, in those countries where this has not yet been created, a unit for violence and injury prevention at Ministries of Health with appropriate budgeting, staffing and authority;
  • develop, implement and evaluate national plans for violence and injury prevention in each country, while promoting the same type of initiatives at both State and municipal levels;
  • encourage Ministries of Education to work together with schools and universities to include violence and injury prevention programs as an integral component of social, health and educational policies;
  • while training and offering continuous education programs on violence and injury prevention among personnel from the Ministries of Health;
  • strengthen, within their institutional domain, data collection efforts on risk and protective factors, as well as on mortality, morbidity and costs related to injuries and violence and make these data available for decision making purposes based on scientific evidence;
  • foster coordination among the sectors involved, to strengthen primary prevention programs that address the fundamental causes and risk factors related to violence and injuries such as alcohol abuse, availability of firearms, the excessive presence of violence in the media, social norms related to violence, gender inequality, lack of use of seatbelts and helmets, excessive speed, drinking and driving;
  • encourage the media to commit to conducting national campaigns on the prevention of violence and injuries, as well as develop initiatives to limit inclusion and presentation of violent images and emphasizing non-violent messages;
  • improve the provision of healthcare services – with a focus on the promotion of health, rights, specific gender and intercultural needs – to victims of violence and injury by the strengthening of emergency trauma care, rehabilitation services, as well as provide legal and social services;
  • foster cooperation between countries within the region for the exchange of information and technical support from those countries with initiatives and projects that have had an impact on the reduction of violence and injuries;
  • request organizations and international agencies to unite strengths, agendas and resources to jointly combat the problem of violence and injuries;
  • recognize, and at same time request the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization for their continued technical support and distribution of documentation to improve our performance on health promotion and violence and injury prevention.

Source: International Organising Committee, 9th World Conference on IP & SP

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