Violence and Injury Prevention

WHO launches Guidelines for conducting community surveys on injuries and violence

ISBN: 92 4 154648 4

The Guidelines for conducting community surveys on injuries and violence is a companion document to the Injury surveillance guidelines which WHO released in 2001. The document explains, step-by-step, how to conduct a community-based survey to collect information about injuries and violence and their resultant disabilities.

Rationale for survey guidelines

In order to develop effective prevention strategies, most countries need better information on the burden of injuries and violence in their communities. This need prompted WHO, in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to develop the Injury Surveillance Guidelines which guide practitioners on how to develop information systems in health care facilities.

Hospital-based surveillance systems need to be complemented by other tools to capture all injury events and deaths in a population. For instance, those treated outside the formal health sector or those with minor injuries which do not necessarily require hospital attention might be missed by a facility-based information system.

Community-based surveys are one way of obtaining injury events within a community. These surveys provide useful baseline information on injuries and in certain situations the results may be extrapolated to the general population. Community surveys are an important supplement to hospital surveillance and are particularly relevant in situations where population denominator data are lacking. However, these type of surveys require specific methodological expertise that might not be available in all countries. To this end WHO, in collaboration with an expert panel experienced in this field, have developed these Guidelines for conducting community surveys on injury and violence.

What these guidelines offer

This document guides the reader through the process of designing and implementing a community-based injury survey. The main focus is on the conduct of surveys at a local level. The guidelines provide:

  • a standardised tool for the systematic collection of data (with core and optional components)
  • examples of questionnaires from low- and middle-income countries
  • detailed guidance on how to obtain representative samples of the study population using two stage cluster sampling with probability proportional to size
  • guidance on how to calculate a sample size
  • how to use these tools in the field.

Instructions are also provided on:

  • how to prepare for data collection
  • selection and training of fieldworkers
  • how to conduct fieldwork and deal with unexpected situations
  • ethical considerations
  • data entry and analysis
  • dissemination of results
  • advocacy.

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