Injury Prevention and Environmental Health: Key Messages from the Volume

Authors: Charles Mock, Olive Kobusingye, Rachel Nugent, Kirk R. Smith


As part of the Disease Control Priorities 3rd Edition, the World Bank will publish a volume on Injury Prevention and Environmental Health that identifies essential prevention strategies and related policies that address substantial needs, are cost effective, and are feasible to implement. This review summarises and critically assesses the volume’s four key findings. First, there is a large burden of death and disability from these conditions. Worldwide, injuries result in more than 5.1 million deaths per year out of a global total of 56 million deaths. There are also large numbers of deaths attributable to risk factors related to non-injury occupational exposures (560,000); inadequate access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (1.4 million deaths); and air pollution (5.5 million). The vast majority of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries. Second, risk factors for these diseases vary with stages of development in ways that can be understood and used in designing prevention strategies. Third, there are a range of interventions that can effectively address these problems, many of which are among the most cost-effective and cost-beneficial of all interventions used to prevent disease. Fourth, this review synthesizes the volume’s prevention strategies to identify an effective essential package of interventions and policies, most of which have been inadequately applied globally. Better implementation of these interventions and policies would help to bring down the high rates of death and disability from these conditions in low- and middle-income countries towards the lower rates in high-income countries. Doing so could avert over 7,500,000 deaths annually from environmental and occupational exposures, and injuries.