Workshop on child injury prevention in Cyprus

Ministry of Health, Cyprus

60 stakeholders met to develop a national action plan on child injury prevention at a workshop hosted by the Ministry of Health of Cyprus in Nicosia on 12–13 January 2016. The meeting was opened by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Christina Giannaki, and by Dr Olga Kalakouta, Chief Health Officer of the Ministry of Health. In attendance were also two members of parliament Ms Stella Misiaouli and Mr Nicos Nouris who are committed to championing the development of the action plan.

Unintentional injuries leading cause of death

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in childhood in Cyprus. In spite of good progress having been made since the adoption of the last plan in 2005–2010, there is a need to refocus attention to prevent childhood deaths and disability from injury. This requires a whole-of-society approach, and participants from different sectors involved in prevention were invited to the workshop.

Dr Dinesh Sethi, Programme Manager, Violence and Injury Prevention at WHO/Europe, presented information on injuries in the WHO European Region. He emphasized that, although injury deaths had fallen throughout the Region, the gap in child injury deaths had widened between high-income countries and low- and middle-income countries.

Participants divided into 5 subgroups to discuss injury prevention in children from road crashes, drowning and suffocation, falls, poisonings, and burns and scalds. After assessing the current situation in Cyprus, each group debated and recommended a set of actions on legislation, environmental and product modification, and programming and educational interventions to ensure greater safety for children.

Reduce mortality and injuries by 30% by 2020

Workshop participants adopted a vision for the plan: Cyprus would be the safest place for children. A preliminary target was also agreed for the plan: to reduce childhood injury mortality and non-fatal injuries by 30% by 2020. Participants agreed that the plan would require monitoring and improved surveillance using a minimum data set for injury surveillance.

Next steps

The intersectoral injury prevention committee would develop the plan further and prepare a budget for the agreed activities. The draft plan would then be presented to the Minister of Health for approval in the spring before being presented for adoption to the Council of Ministers.