Violence and Injury Prevention

Injury-related disability and rehabilitation

Around the world more than a billion people live with disabilities, the vast majority in low-income and middle-income countries. A significant proportion of disabilities are caused by injuries including those which result from traffic crashes, falls, burns, and acts of violence such as child abuse, youth violence, intimate partner violence, and war and conflict.

Global and regional estimates of the injury-specific causes of disability are lacking. However, estimates from some countries suggest that up to one quarter of disabilities may result from injuries and violence. In Mexico studies show that 17.7% of disabilities result from unintentional injuries alone, while for Hungary and Sierra Leone the figures are 12.7% and 14.3% respectively. The results from studies on violence-related injuries which result in disability are not well documented.

Examples of injury-related impairments resulting in disabilities include:

  • Physical and/or cognitive limitations due to neurotrauma
  • Paralysis due to spinal cord trauma
  • Partial or complete amputation of limbs
  • Physical limb deformation resulting in mobility impairments
  • Psychological trauma
  • Sensory disability such as blindness and deafness

Lack of access to health and rehabilitation services, education and employment and the high cost of medical care limit the ability of people with disabilities to fully participate in their societies. Injury prevention will reduce the causes of disabilities and improved care and services will better the lives of people living with injury-related disabilities.

WHO conducts a number of activities to prevent and mitigate the consequences of injury and thereby disability. These include WHO's work on preventing violence and road traffic injuries, including the WHO Helmet Initiative, as well as work on improving emergency care and rehabilitation for victims of trauma.

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Contact us

Ms. Laura Sminkey
Communications Officer
Tel.: +41 22 791 45 47
Mob.: +41 79 249 35 20