World Health Assembly adopts child injury resolution

25/05/11

The Sixty-fourth World Health Assembly has adopted a resolution on child injury prevention, the first ever on the topic. 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.

The resolution urges Member States 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.

In adopting the resolution, around 20 Member States voiced their strong support for the initiative, many making note of the toll that injuries take on the lives of children in their countries. The delegate from Bangladesh noted that child injury is a "national catastrophe", while the delegate from the United States stated that child injury prevention should be part of each country's plan for child and adolescent health and that child injury prevention should be integrated within child survival programming.

The adoption of this historic resolution by the World Health Assembly is a landmark accomplishment, as it firmly frames child injury as a major child survival issue and highlights the need to expand child survival programming and financing streams to include child injury prevention.

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