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Monday, 23 July 2012

Exciting news from the Injury Control field

While injury rates trend downwards over the long time period, the effectiveness of various interventions in preventing death from certain forms of injury has been mediocre at best.   The best efforts in motor vehicle collision deaths through engineering changes, merely modest success in reductions in falls, and suicide prevention programming has rarely shown any benefit and unlikely a major contributor to the recent reductions in suicide rates. 

In this disappointing field, there has been ample opportunity for the growth of various organizations invoking calls for injury prevention, engaging in high profile media events, and competing for limited resources.   Innumerable groups come to mind ranging from the Red Cross and Royal Lifesaving Society in water safety, Canadian Avalanche Centre for backwoods deaths to avalanches, and more recently Safe Communities, Safe Kids, SmartRisk and ThinkFirst.  All focusing on thematic variations in making safer choices.    Add to this the Brain Injury Association, Occupational Health and Safety groups, Agricultural safety groups, Hockey helmet groups and the list continues without end.  

Many provinces have invested in provincial injury control centres, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec.  Not to be left out, most of the remaining provinces have provincial strategies and functions integral to their Ministries of Health.  PHAC wanders into the field as well. 

One might almost be concerned that efforts are diluted and contributing to ineffectiveness.  Hence the very positive announcement that Safe Communities, Safe Kids, SmartRisk and ThinkFirst are amalgamating their organizations under the new banner of Parachute Canada.  press release on amalgamation of organziations.  In an era of decreasing government support and fiscal restrictions, such amalgamations are going to become an increasing necessity for financial reasons alone.  Amalgamating programming, resources, supports and infrastructure may help Parachute Canada also become more effective in protecting Canadians.   Kudos to the boards and administrations of the organizations for taking the bold leap, something public health workers should acknowledge and applaud. 

Many business mergers are destined to failure from the onset, hopefully the similar vision of these organizations can form an effective national coalition to bolster efforts nationally and provincially.  Would it not be shocking to see such collaboration and integration between the provincial injury control centres as well?  

As a total aside, an interesting injury prevention piece on the risks carried by the “one-size fits all” approach to engineered space in motor vehicles.  Evidence that obese persons carry a disproportionate risk for severe outcomes when involved in a crash Oottawacitizen Obseity and MVC  .  Innovative work that adds to the descriptive efforts of injury -  now to convert description into effective action.

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