Injuries, Suicide Reported to Cause 3,300 Deaths a Day in Western Pacific

May 22, 2006

The World Health Organization on Monday said it was alarmed by figures showing that over 3,300 people in the Western Pacific region die daily of road traffic accidents, suicide, drowning and other injury-related deaths.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated five million people die every year worldwide from injury-related deaths, including 1.2 million annually in the Western Pacific region — or nearly 3,330 deaths daily.

The Western Pacific covers 48 countries and territories including Australia, the Pacific island countries, Japan, Korea, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

The major injury-related causes of deaths in the region are suicide, which claims 343,000 lives yearly, road traffic accidents, which kill 302,000, and drowning, with 171,000 deaths, the WHO said in the statement, adding that it was “alarmed by the magnitude of the problem.”

It warned that road traffic injuries and suicides could rank among the top 15 causes of deaths worldwide by 2020.

“A business-as-usual approach is no longer acceptable,” said Dr. Shigeru Omi, WHO’s Western Pacific regional director. “We, as public health professionals, need to address the causes of injuries and injury-related deaths in partnership with other sectors and stakeholders.”

The WHO opened a meeting of national experts in Manila, Phillipines this week to discuss future directions for injury and violence prevention programs.

Omi stressed the need to raise public awareness and appealed to political leaders for resources needed to address the problem.

“We must build our institutional capacity and human resources to meet the challenges of injury and violence prevention,” he said.

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