Safety 2018, the 13th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion was held from 5th-7th November in Bangkok, Thailand. With the generous support of the Australasian Injury Prevention Network I was able to attend the conference to see the work being done in injury prevention and safety promotion around the globe. Almost a month on from the conference I have been able to apply my learnings into my work in child injury prevention, along with a strong sense of empowerment that the work we all set out to do each day is making a difference. The conference had an incredibly diverse range of work on display from over 90 countries, and while it is impossible to capture every single highlight of the trip, here are a few of the memorable presentations and speakers that I particularly enjoyed.
- Opening keynote address from Zoleka Mandela
The opening ceremony included a keynote address from Zoleka Mandela, who spoke on building culture of safety and opportunities and challenges within this. Zoleka spoke on the heartbreaking story of her 13 year old daughter being killed by a drunk-driver, and her late grandfather Nelson Mandela’s advice to her on continuing to fight for the other families that have lost children from road injuries. Her empowering speech called for everyone to work together to make a safer traffic environment and prevent deaths on roads.
- FIA Foundation
Saul Billingsley of the FIA Foundation presented on the organisation’s great work in road safety, and the importance of integrating child traffic injury into the global health and rights agendas. Of note was the push to address the underlying causes of unsafe environments.
- Youth for Road Safety (YOuRS)
Manpreet Darroch spoke about Youth for Road Safety, a youth-led global NGO. He spoke on valuing youth as an asset, rather than a problem. They involve young people in all elements of the intervention cycle to make use of their insights, and focus on empowerment instead of education only.
- Childhood drowning prevention in Bangladesh
Shumona Sharmin Salam from the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research presented on the drowning prevention methods carried out in Bangladesh. Crèches were used to provide children with supervision to reduce the risk of drowning, and there was found to be a successful uptake of crèches. Despite no set numbers presented on the reduction of drowning related to this intervention, the use of the crèches proved to be an effective method for active supervision of children whilst their primary caregivers completed their chores which may continue to be used as a drowning prevention initiative with other methods.
- Nhan Tran, World Health Organisation
Nhan Tran from the World Health Organisation spoke in the Plenary session on success stories of injury prevention. He highlighted that the way we approach safety needs to change from an intervention to a value, along with the systems approach needed in all aspects of injury prevention to address the issues effectively.
- International Safety Media Awards
The International Safety Media Awards were held alongside Safety 2018 and recognise successful injury prevention media initiatives from around the world. It was wonderful to see many Australian campaigns receiving awards, including Kidsafe Australia, Royal Life Saving Society Australia and City of Melville, among many others. These awards show us the importance of media in spreading injury prevention messaging all around the world.
Overall the conference was informative, thought-provoking, and empowering to see all the wonderful initiatives that exist around the world and what still needs to be done. Thank you again to AIPN for giving me the opportunity to attend, the learnings and networking on offer were invaluable, especially being my first conference! Looking forward to Safety 2020 in Adelaide, Australia.