Four pictures of Plasticine men depicting possible forms of injury such as drowning, falls, poisoning and road traffic injuries Every 6 seconds someone in the world dies as a result of an injury. Among the causes of injury are acts of violence against others or oneself, road traffic crashes, burns, drowning, falls, and poisonings. More than 5 million people die each year as a result of injuries. This accounts for 9% of the world’s deaths, nearly 1.7 times the number of fatalities that result from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. 

The millions of deaths that result from injuries represent only a small fraction of those injured. Tens of millions of people suffer injuries that lead to hospitalization, emergency department or general practitioner treatment, or treatment that does not involve formal medical care. 

The nature of injuries and violence varies considerably according to age, sex, region and income group. For people between the ages of 15 and 29 years, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death, with suicide and homicide the second and fourth leading causes of death respectively. Among the elderly, falls are the most common cause of injury death.

About 90% of injury-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, injury death rates are nearly three times as high in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. 

Globally more males than females are killed by injuries and violence— almost twice as many each year. However, in the Region the fire-related death rates of women aged 15 to 29 years are around 1.5 times higher compared to men.

The international community, national governments and civil society all have an important role to play in creating societies that are safe from the risk of injuries and violence.

Related link

Fact sheets on injuries