Written by Rachel Meade, Injury Prevention Manager at Injury Matters.
From the 5-7 November 2018, the 13th World Safety Conference on Injury Prevention was held in Bangkok, Thailand. This event brought together over a thousand of the world’s leading researchers, practitioners, policy makers and activists to share information and experience on injury prevention. This year’s theme was Advancing Injury And Violence Prevention Towards Sustainable Development Goals.
The juxtaposition of an injury prevention conference with the ever-present challenges of injury in Bangkok were significant. It was eye-opening to see the challenges locals face on a daily basis; while navigating the streets of Bangkok, road safety, burns, falls and electrical hazards were never far from my mind.
The conference highlighted that global progress in injury prevention is too slow, and how we need to look beyond the public health sector for solutions and improvements.
It was the opinion of Professor Adnan Hyder of John Hopkins University that as a community, we need to think of safety as a value if we are to overcome challenges. As public health professionals, we need to look beyond the risk factors for injury and look at the social issues which enable the risk factors to be present.
We need to advocate and be outraged that people are dying and being seriously injured at the rate that they are.
In 2015, 2474 people died from falls in Australia. Where is the outrage at this? If there was a singular event that resulted in that many fatalities there would be significant attention in the media, but because it is individuals and not a collective the attention is not given. Injury is a significant public health priority in Australia and we need to make more noise to bring it to the forefront of the community.
Safety and injury prevention is everyone’s business. We need action across government departments, by NGOs, industry and importantly by community. We need to change our mindset when we think of safety, where it is something we value and think of the whole system to solve the problem.
At the end of the conference five solutions were suggested:
- Strengthen government leadership and accountability
- Strengthen legislation and regulation
- Shaping social norms
- Scaling up interventions for injury and violence prevention
- Strengthening monitoring and capacities
As a developed nation, Australia is in the fortunate position that we are advanced in some areas where the solutions were placed such as legislation and regulation.
One area where I think we need to focus on is the shaping of social norms, particularly with all forms of interpersonal violence and alcohol; which are supported and enabled through legislation, regulation and leadership.
We need to focus our efforts on the people who need our assistance the most, the vulnerable.
The conference concluded with the reading of the Bangkok statement which can be found on www.worldsafety2018.org and announced the next conference to be hosted by the Public Health Association of Australia in Adelaide in November 2020. Perhaps in two years we will see how injury prevention has evolved, shaped by the evidence of what we know works and implementing interventions with the people who are in need.
It’s NAIDOC week, and this year’s theme is Because of Her, We Can! Focusing on the essential role women have played, and continue to play, as role models within the Australian community at all levels. Continue reading “NAIDOC Week 2018 – Because of Her, We Can!”
Know Injury has recently released a new resource regarding the incidence of injury among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The resource outlines a number of statistics including that in WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are hospitalised due to injury 2.5 times more than non-Aboriginal people, with 10,165 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hospitalised due to injury from July 2013 to June 2015.
Click here to access the new resource.
The 2018-19 Federal Budget was released on 8 May 2018, which revealed a $12.4 billion increase in the Health Budget, to $99.1 billion for health, aged care and sport.
Key injury prevention funding allocations outlined in the Budget include an:
- Increase in mental health funding by $338.1 million to focus on suicide prevention, research, older Australians and advancing the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.
- $1.0 million of funding to reduce the number of preventable childhood injuries through the SeeMore Safety Program.
- $0.9 million allocation to develop a new National Injury Prevention Strategy aimed at reducing childhood injuries by investing in infant and maternal health.
- Support for Surf Life Saving Australia, Royal Life Saving Australia, AUSTSWIM and Laurie Lawrence Swimming Enterprises to deliver the Water and Snow Safety Program.
Other injury prevention related activities include investments regarding; aged care, improving access to health care facilities, Indigenous health services, alcohol and drug abuse and activities encouraging physical activity.
For the full 2018/19 Federal Budget click here.
Perth was chosen to be this year’s host city for the 2018 National Road Safety Week, which began five years ago and is an initiative of Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) founder and president Peter Frazer.
Peter lost his daughter Sarah in an horrific road crash in 2012 just as she was on her way to begin her university studies at a neighbouring university and to start a new chapter in her life at the age of 23.
Sarah had experienced car trouble on the way to her first day of university and had been forced to pull over to the emergency lane and to call and wait for a tow truck to provide assistance. Sadly both Sarah and the tow truck driver were killed instantly when a truck, which failed to see and avoid them, ploughed into them both killing them instantly.
Peter later discovered that the emergency lane on that stretch of road did not meet national safety guidelines and has become a tireless campaigner for road safety, marking the start of a journey neither he nor his wife had ever wanted to take.
The campaign launch was held at Perth’s newly opened Yagan Square on Sunday April 29 and was officially marked by WA Road Safety Minister Hon. Michelle Roberts and acting Road Safety Commissioner Iain Cameron, leading road safety figures from across WA, community members and the Road Trauma Support WA team.
The week highlighted the safety needs of different road users and groups throughout the week, focusing on first responders, roadside assistance workers, vulnerable road users, those on regional roads as well as cyclists and motorcyclists.
It also incorporated a research forum which brought together those involved in enforcement, legislation, protection, research and support, looking at the latest trends and evidence around road safety and mapping out ways to work together moving forward.
Although the profile and impact of National Road Safety Week continues to grow each year and to resonate with communities across Australia, the reality is that despite education, advocacy, legislation and enforcement, the number of those killed and injured on our roads continues to grow. And with that the number of families and community members who are left devastated in its wake.
Governments across the world continue to call for tougher penalties for those who break the law on our roads, and although the vast majority abide by those laws, there are still those who don’t – putting themselves and others at risk.
Road Safety experts also referred to those who aren’t drinking and driving, who aren’t speeding and who are routinely wearing their seatbelts, but who make momentary mistakes that will impact them and those around them for the rest of their lives.
The Road Trauma Support WA team would like to thank Peter Frazer and the SARAH group for all of their hard work, the WA Road Safety Commission team who coordinated the event nationally from Perth, WA Road Safety Minister Hon. Michelle Roberts and all those across Australia who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the events of the past week happen.
As we reflect on the events of the past week, which have successfully put road safety in the national spotlight, lets pause to remember all of those who are struggling in the wake of road trauma.
If you, a friend, family member or colleague has been impacted by road trauma would like further information or support it is available at www.rtswa.org.au
Injury Matters is proud to be the recipient of one of the Australian Institute of Management WA’s Organisational Management Development Scholarships. This is a great opportunity for Injury Matters and will contribute to building leadership capacity within the organisation. Last week AIM WA held an awards ceremony and networking opportunity for all the not-for-profit recipients to come together. To find out more about the AIM WA scholarship recipients click here.
Policy & Sector Support Manager, Christine Smith and AIM WA CEO, Professor Gary Martin.
Last week, Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull presented the annual Closing the Gap report. This marks 10 years that the framework has been in place and shows how the nation and individual states are progressing against seven targets. The latest data indicates that three of the seven targets are on track to be met. In Western Australia the targets of early childhood education and year 12 or equivalent attainment are on track.
National progress against targets:
- Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (by 2018) – On Track.
- 95 per cent of all Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education (by 2025) – On Track.
- Close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance within five years (by 2018) – Not On Track.
- Halve the gap for Indigenous children in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade (by 2018) – Not on Track.
- Halve the gap for Indigenous Australians aged 20-24 in Year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment rates (by 2020) – On Track.
- Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade (by 2018) – Not on Track.
- Close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation (by 2031) – Not on Track.
Improving the social determinants of health, such as education and employment will empower communities and improve injury outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. So progress across all targets is critical for improving the incidence and impact of injury among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Of particular interest to readers though may be the domain of health.
- Between the periods 2005-2007 and 2010-2012, there was a small reduction in the life expectancy gap of 0.8 years for males and 0.1 years for females.
- Over the longer term, Indigenous mortality rates have declined significantly by 14 per cent since 1998. However, there has been no improvement since the 2006 baseline and the target is not on track to be met.
The Injury Matters team headed to Kings Park earlier this month for a specially designed Cultural Awareness presentation by WA-based organisation Aboriginal Awareness Production and Events.
The organisation is led by respected Aboriginal elder, Dr Richard Walley OAM and his family, and promotes an understanding of Aboriginal culture and how its heritage, beliefs and traditions can be applied to enhance personal and organisational growth.
As an organisation which interacts with health professionals and different sectors of the community – both in metropolitan and regional WA – to promote injury prevention programs and activities, we place significant importance on understanding and embracing Aboriginal culture in the work we do.
We are currently in the final stages of completing our first ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which has very much been a learning journey for all of the staff who have been involved in pulling it together, and our session with AAP&E was an important part of that process.
Although some staff have participated in cultural awareness programs in the past, for many it was very much an opportunity to find out more about Aboriginal culture, its heritage and traditions and to gain a deeper understanding of some of the practices and traditions we may have heard about but not necessarily understood the meaning behind.
The morning’s session was conducted by Richard’s four children – John, Olman, Alton and Rickeeta all of whom are an integral part of the AAP&E team – each of whom brought a different perspective and dimension to the morning’s activities.
It was very much an interactive process with plenty of opportunity for our staff to ask questions and engage in debate and discussion and for all of those present to be given an opportunity to ask questions, voice their opinions and engage in an open and non-judgemental session.
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the morning was our fascinating guided tour through Kings Park – including a stroll across the treetop walk – while Olman identified the different flora and fauna that has been an integral part of Aboriginal culture for tens of thousands of years.
“It was a real revelation to see Kings Park through the stories of the ancestors of our guides, to listen to some of Perth’s history from an Aboriginal perspective and to learn the many different ways Aboriginal people utilise the natural environment as part of their daily diet, health care and shelter,” said one team member.
“We now know what to do if we are caught in the bush without a band aid, rope or toilet paper!”
Thanks to all of the team at Aboriginal Awareness Productions and Events for a wonderful morning and we highly recommend it to any organisation wanting a deeper understanding of Aboriginal culture and heritage or who may be contemplating undertaking their own Reconciliation Action Plan journey.
In June 2017, the Government of Western Australia announced the Sustainable Health Review to prioritise the delivery of patient-centred, high quality and financially sustainable healthcare across the State.
The review involved consultation with a variety of stakeholders including patients and carers, clinicians, community members, non-government organisations, peak bodies and private industry.
Injury Matters submission focused on the significant impact of injury on the health system in Western Australia, affirming the importance of investment in injury prevention and proposing recommendations in the areas of patient first systems, value for money, partnerships, healthy lifestyles and technology and innovation.
To view Injury Matters Sustainable Health Review submission click here.