Experts mull violence prevention measures

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pretoria - Leading public health experts will converge in Cape Town on Tuesday for the 5th Milestones meeting, where they will share the latest scientific knowledge on preventing violence-related death and disability.

According to the report, Violence and Health in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region, released earlier this year, the rates of violence in Africa are among the world's highest. 

Globally, more than 1.5 million people are violently killed each year, which puts a massive burden on national economies, costing countries billions in health care.

This will be the first time a 'Milestones in a Global Campaign for Violence Prevention' meeting will be held in SA.

The latest research on the extent of violence in specific countries will be released. Experts will highlight violence prevention programmes in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Colombia, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States. 

A wide variety of organisations and several United Nations agencies will give an update on their efforts to support national violence prevention initiatives. 
Several presenters will draw attention to the increasing links between violence in childhood and chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and mental health disorders later in life. 

WHO representative for South Africa, Dr Stella Anyang, said across the world, poverty, income and gender inequality, alcohol abuse and a lack of violence prevention initiatives are among the key factors that contribute to high rates of violence. 

"Violence pervades much of the world today and the impact on societies in Africa is profound. We need a fundamental change in perception about the preventable nature of violence and increased investment in those violence prevention programmes, which have proven successful around the world," Anyang said ahead of the meeting. 

She noted that some of the strategies to prevent violence include pre-school enrichment programmes for children aged between three and five years; life skills training for children aged 6-18 years and school-based programmes to address gender norms and attitudes.

Director of the WHO Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability, Dr Etienne Krug, stated that recent events around the world have confirmed the need to scale up violence prevention efforts.

"We must apply the knowledge and experience of the experts gathered here into action to save lives," said Krug. - BuaNews

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