A close look at injuries and prevention
It occurs in the blink of an eye. Injuries not only impact on the victim by bringing about death or major and lifelong disability but also on the family, society, economy and country.
The data with regard to injuries are chilling:
- Sri Lanka loses about 35 people due to injuries every day.
- Injuries are the No. 1 cause of hospitalisation in Sri Lanka.
- Over a million (1,000,000) victims of injuries are treated as inpatients in government hospitals each year.
- Millions more are treated as outpatients in the private sector, by other non-western medical professionals or resort to treatment at home without any healthcare advice.
- A majority of the victims are in the economically-productive age group and injuries are the No. 1 cause of death among them.
- Sri Lanka spends a huge amount of the budget for the treatment and rehabilitation of victims of injury.
This is why tomorrow and on Tuesday (November 20 and 21), attention would be riveted not only on injuries but also the vital need to prevent them, when the Health Ministry’s Directorate of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) holds the International Conference on Injury Prevention Sri Lanka (ICIPSL) in Colombo.
ICIPSL on the theme ‘Bridging Gaps, Saving Lives’ has been organised by the Director of NCDs, Dr. Samiddhi Samarakoon with the Deputy Director General (NCDs) Dr. Champika Wickramasinghe as the Conference Chairperson.
Referring to injuries and their toll on people as “tragic”, Dr. Samarakoon reiterated that research plays a crucial role in any field. The outcome of research should be discussed critically and suitable solutions taken following constructive arguments.
She was confident that ICIPSL would be a good platform to discuss research outcomes critically and come up with effective solutions as well as establish strong collaborations between policymakers and stakeholders involved in injury prevention. It would help boost the quality of research with regard to injury prevention.
“It is also important to identify the gaps in injury prevention and the strategies needed to rectify them,” said Dr. Samarakoon, stressing that the Directorate of NCDs has a responsibility to prevent injuries. This responsibility extends beyond hospital walls to “our homes, workplaces, roads and communities”.
Urging the designation of injury prevention as a “top” priority, she added that their commitment can save countless lives and alleviate suffering if “we collectively embrace measures and corrective actions”.
Meanwhile, “Let’s make a difference,” was the call of Dr. Wickramasinghe who said that the number of injury-related deaths has been on the rise in many countries including Sri Lanka in recent years.
“Injuries deserve due attention and priority as they are largely preventable. By addressing the causes with appropriate measures proactively, we can prevent as well as reduce both mortality and disabilities. When addressing the growing injury burden, new innovative solutions need to be identified to provide action for a safer community,” she added.
|Health Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana will be the chief guest at the inauguration of the ICIPSL, while the keynote address on ‘Trends in injury prevalence through public sector interventions’ will be by Prof. V. Anantharaman, Emeritus Consultant, Department of Emergency Medicine, Singapore General Hospital.
The ICIPSL will have three plenary sessions on: ‘Injuries and Climate Change’; ‘Injuries and Economic Burden’ and ‘Community Engagement, Social Marketing and Public/Private Partnerships in Injury Prevention’. The nine symposia will be on: Road safety; Drowning safety; Occupational safety; Poisoning prevention; Animal safety; Child safety; Elderly safety; Post-trauma care; and Injury Data Management.
Around 350 participants are expected at ICIPSL, with the international speakers being from India, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia.
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