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Injuries increasing role in Global Burden of Disease

Photo from Safe Community World Conference i South Korea 2010. Professor Svanstrøm (sitting) with co-workers

An important article in The Lancet reports the increasing role of injuries as cause of death globally in the period 1990-2013

A study in The Lancet, funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shows the importance of injury prevention work world wide. The work done world-wide in the Safe Community Movement by dedicated people, is certainly important and increasingly called for. We have reason to be proud and steadfast in our injury prevention efforts during the 25 years that have passed since Professor Leif Svanstrøm started the Safecom movement in 1989.

Clipping from the study abstract:
For most communicable causes of death both numbers of deaths and age-standardised death rates fell whereas for most non-communicable causes, demographic shifts have increased numbers of deaths but decreased age-standardised death rates. Global deaths from injury increased by 10·7%, from 4·3 million deaths in 1990 to 4·8 million in 2013.

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Mirjana Milankova introduces the Safe Community Concept in Novosibirsk, Russia

Mirjana has just returned from her second travel to Novosibirsk where she has lectured at Novosibirsk State University

Prof. dr Mirjana Milankovhas lectured 11-16. November in a masters course at Novosibirsk State University, speaking about the Safe Community Concept, injury and violence prevention, prevention of psychological trauma and about youth problems in these areas. Also, she has presented the International Safe Community Network.

She participated First International Scientific an Practice Conference / "Innovative diagnostic methods in psychology, pedagogy, deviantology, psychiatry and penology" at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University/

It is the second time that she has presented Safe Community Movement in Novosibirsk. First time was in 2011.

In Novosibirsk there is a desire and seemingly a critical mass to become involved in the International Safe Community Movement lead by Prof. Marina Cuhrova, Prof. Irina Slinkova and Prof. Oleg Donskih.

Safe Communities Troms County and Sogn og Fjordane has Zero traffic fatalities so far 2014

Designation Cermony Troms County Norway June 3rd. 2014

Norway´s latest International Safe Community, designated June 3rd 2014 in Harstad, was Troms County (150 000 inhabitants) has so far this year no fatal traffic accidents. Interestingly, Sogn og Fjordane county, also a Safe Community 2005, shares this good news

Evaluation of Harstad2014

Evaluation shows potential for improvement of future ESCON Conferences

The Evaluation of Harstad2014 shows an overall acceptable score for most of the items on the questionnaire. The overall message from the participants seems to be "well done".
However, the potential for improvement is obvious, based on the suggestions for future venues. The issue of weighting the space between parallel and plenary sessions is commented by many and is an important one. The argument for having many parallel sessions is that participants have better chance of being funded when they present their own material.
Moreover, the organizers considered it important to make space and time for learning and sharing good input from our local communities.

• Click here for download evaluation (pdf)

Shenkursk, Russia, soon an International Safe Community?

From left to right: Kees Jan Verhage, Børge Ytterstad, Marina Zhestovskikh, Alexander Kudryavtsev, Andrej Grjibovski, Elena Shutyleva and Vasilii Anfimov. Photo taken by Nadezda Kusnetsova

The first project in Russia with the aim of establishment of the first Russian safe community started in April 2014. By the end of September, an international working group consisting of Russian and Norwegian experts already had three working meetings and made a considerable progress in establishment of the first injury registry in Russia.

The project is led by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (project leader – Prof. Andrej Grjibovski) and financed by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Health.

Although the project officially started only in April 2014, intensive preparations in Shenkursk for becoming the first Safe Community in Russia have been made since 2012. Altogether, seven indicators are necessary to be present for certification as a WHO International Safe Community and our Russian partners are well on the way in fulfilling the requirements with Norwegian assistance.

The driving force in Russia for this project is Dr. Alexander Kudryavtsev, Dean of the International Faculty at the Northern State University of Arkhangelsk. He recently defended a PhD thesis on injuries in a Russian setting and continues his education as post-doc at the University of Tromsø.

Using the Harstad Model for injury registration, work has started for making infrastructure necessary for registering injuries at the Shenkursk. Two working seminars, one in Harstad in June 1014 and one in Shenkursk in September 2014 have been organised. Present were representatives from Shenkursk City, Shenkursk District , Arkhangelsk Oblast, Northern State University, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Harstad Safe Community Staff and Norsafety, Harstad. Upstream variables are now agreed on, suitable for Russian infrastructure and culture. These variables are compatible with the Harstad Data which have been used for 30 years and found suitable for proper data analysis (community diagnosis) and evaluation of multi-disciplinary and cross-sector based injury prevention and safety promotion.

Shenkursk Mayor Irina Pitolina

Shenkursk, Russia planning for International Safe Community

The people on the picture lef to right: Vasilii Anfimov, Alexander Kudryavtsev, Andrej Grjibovski, Rudolf Matveev, Børge Ytterstad

The first International Safe Community is planned in the Russian City of Shenkursk. The project is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Health and administered by Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

In a meeting in Arkhangelsk May 6th, the injury registration at Shenkursk Hospital was planned, using the Harstad Model for Hospital registration. The model is modified according to Russian culture and infrastructure. The people on the picture are:

Vasilii Anfimov, Head physician of Shenkursk central district hospital
named after N.N. Priorov, Shenkursk, Russia

Alexander Kudryavtsev, Ph.D, Coordinator of the project
"Community-based injury prevention program and injury surveillance in Shenkursk coordinator", Postdoc, Northern State Medical University in Arkhangelsk, Russia and UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway

Andrej Grjibovski, Dr.Med, Leader of the project "Community-based
injury prevention program and injury surveillance in Shenkursk
coordinator", Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway

Rudolf Matveev, Professor, Chief traumatologist of the Arkhangelsk
region, head of the Department of traumatology, orthopedics and
military surgery at the Northern State Medical University in
Arkhangelsk, Russia

Børge Ytterstad, Prof. Emeritus at the UiT The Arctic University of
Norway, President of the European Safe Community Network

Harstad re-certified 20th March 2014

Photo: Andreas Isachsen

Signing ceremony. From left dept. mayor Jan Fjellstad, certifyer Guldbrand Skjønberg, chief of police Hugo Henstein and director Karl Erik Arnesen, Harstad University College

Harstad was certified 1994 and re-certified 2003. After almost 20 years Safe Community status the community was re-certified a second time. Guldbrand Skjønberg from WHO Collaborating Center at Karolinska said in his address that Harstad has been an example both nationally and internationally for their routine prospective registration of injury data since 1985. The data has made evaluations of effective interventions possible (1-3).
1. Ytterstad B. The Harstad Injury Prevention Study. A decade of community based traffic injury prevention with emphasis on children. Postal dissemination of local injury data can be effective. Intern J of Circumpolar Health 2003; 62:61-74.
2. Ytterstad B. Smith G. Coggan C. The Harstad Injury Prevention Study. Prevention of burns in young children by community-based intervention. Injury Prevention 1998; 4:176-80.
3. Ytterstad B. The Harstad injury prevention study: Community-based prevention of fall-fractures in the aged evaluated by means of a hospital-based injury recording system. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1996;50:551-8.

Sande, Norway Designated 5th November 2013

Safe Community flag between Certifyer Guldbrand Skjønberg (right) and Olav Grande (deputy mayor) and Karl Einar Haslestad (Mayor)

Sande is the fourth International Safe Community to be certified in Vestfold County, Norway

The Norwegian County of Vestfold is working very systematically with injury prevention and safety promotion. Sande municipality is the latest newcomer, joining three previously designated communities.

Harstad Safe Community assessed in Site Visit December 9th 3013

Gulbrand Skjønberg together with

The site visit was done by Guldbrand Skjønberg, senior advisor/certifyer of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Community Safety Promotion Karolinska Institutet. The program for the day was extensive and gave according to the certifyer a good insight into the structure and activity of the Harstad Community work for fulfilling the seven indicators. The certifyer seemed to be in a good mood during the visit. The final verdict will be known shortly.

Update on the 4th Regional European Safe Community Conference in Harstad June 3-5 2014

The Midnight Sun in June

The website for Harstad 2014 is now published

• Go here

The planning for Harstad 2014, June 3-5 is on track. The organizing committee has secured internationally renowned plenary speakers. There will be a number of scholarships available for applicants.

The website for info on registration, abstract submission, early bird payment and pre- and post- conference activities is now published.
• Go here

We appreciate submission of works from practitioners and field workers as well as academics. We are keen to learn from and share good practices with the European and Global network of Safe Communities.
Abstract deadline is set for April 1st. Early bird registration and payment is April 15th 2014.

Harstad welcomes participants to a modern and well equipped venue at Harstad University College - and a North Norwegian landscape bathed in the midnight sun.

Additional suggested topics for Harstad 2014

Injury prevention for the ageing European Population
Involvment and capacity building in former Russia and former Socialist States
Injury Prevention within the health promotion concept
Injuries among the disabeled
Injuries among immigrants

Our advisory/scientific committee:

Scienticic/advisory Committee:
Professor Emeritus Børge Ytterstad (chair)
Professor Emeritus Leif Svanstrøm
Dr. Dinesh Seti (WHO Europe)
Mr. Guldbrand Skjønberg
Professor Mirjana Milankov
Professor Ronan Lyons
Associate Professor Diana Stark Ekman
Associate Professor Robert Ekman
Dr. Inge Kristensen
Dr. Johann Bøhmann
Associate Professor Johan Lund
Ms. Kristina Forsberg
Professor Andrej Grjribovsi
Associate Professor Alexander Kudryavtsev
Mr. Stig Fredriksson
Professor Shrikant Bangdiwala
Associate Professor Koustuv Dalal
Dr. Wah-shing Tang
Professor Jon Piil Cho
Professor Toomas Timpka
Professor Ragnar Andersson
Associate Professor Ann Clancy
Professor Dinesh Mohan
Dr. Peter Spitzer
Professor/Director Tor Ingebrigtsen
Ms. Eva Jakobson Vaagland
Dr. Aili Lassner
Professor Louis Francescutti
Professor Gainel Usattayeva
Professor Ronan Lyons
Professor Dinesh Mohan
Professor Mirjana Milankov
Professor Marie-Isabel Gutierrez Organizing Committee:

Reference Group

Marianne Bremnes (Chair Reference group)
Kjetil Nilsen
Bodil Olsvik
Thomas Rørnes
Jan Erik Kristoffersen
Geir Lyså
Solveig Rostøl Bakken
Kjetil Bjørkelund
Sturla Bangstad
Kees Jan Verhage

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Important news from ECSA on product related child injury

Hey there! How can you protect me from injuries?

Eurosafe works within the EU system for injury prevention and safety promotion. The European Child Safety Alliance (ECSA), led by Joanne Vincenten and Morag MacKay, guides european countries towards building safer environments for children 0-14 years of age. This top down work is an important add-on for the bottom-up work of the International Safe Community Movement and ESCON.

December 5th 2013 a child product safety guide was published by ECSA. This guide lists 26 products, potentially dangerous for children. Some products are not recommended for use and should be withdrawn from the market. Other products may be dangerous when wrongfully used e.g. bicycle helmets and child car seats.

• Click here for Child Product Safety Guide

Tallinn, Estonia designated International Safe Community

The SC agreement signed by Mayor Mr Edgar Savisaar (in the middle), Head of Social Welfare and Health Care Dept of Tallinn Mr Vahur Keldrima (left) and Mr Guldbrand Skjonberg (right) from European Certifying Centre.

TALLINN is the 315. Safe Community, the first capital in Europe (the 3rd in the world, after Wellington and Tehran). The designation ceremony took place on 28 May in Tallinn, accompanied by Mayor of Tallinn Mr Edgar Savisaar and other representatives, and by quests and greetings from three Estonian Safe Communities (Rapla, Viljandi and Lääne counties).
There are 4 Safe Communities in Estonia now.

Nøtterøy, Norway designated September 26th 2013

Guldbrand Skjønberg, Certifyer for WHO Collaborating Center with Mayor Roar Jonstang and Deputy Mayor Toril Eeg

Nøtterøy (22 000) became the 18th Norwegian International Safe Community and the 318th globally

The designation ceremony was part of a day seminar on injury prevention and safety promotion. The presentations documented a strong commitment to the seven indicators. For re-designation in five years the indicator on documentation of injury occurrence in the community may have to be improved. The presentations on fall prevention, using modern technology was particularly interesting and innovative. The interventions for inclusion of vulnerable groups and asylum seekers were outstanding and something for other communities to emulate

Arctic Race of Norway and Safe Community Harstad a success

Old bicycles brought in for repair

Safe Community Harstad arranged a "Bicycle Train" as side event for the Arctic Race promoting safe cycling and helmet use

Arctic Race of Norway was a success and Tor Hushovd won this first and historic event. Over 20 teams participated, seven of them Tour De France teams.

The Safe Community "Bicycle Train" was a success. The five Signaturees of the Harstad Safe Community Agreement were represented by the Mayor of Harstad Marianne Bremnes, The Director of Harstad University College Karl Erik Arnesen, The Chief of Police Geir Pedersen, The Regional Director for Road Authorities in Northern Norway Torbjørn Naimak and Rita Bjugg representing the Emergency Ward at tha University Hospital of Northern Norway Harstad.

The Safe Com Bicycle Train promoted physical activity and helmet use and first in the "Train" were Harstad Tigers on their newly painted black and yellow bikes. All ages, vulnerable groups, handicapped and ethnic groups participated to show Harstad as an active, safe, tolerant and inclusive Community. Please take a look at the Bicycle Train Video on youtube!

• Click here for you tube video

Smedjebacken (population 11 000) re-designated as international Safe Community

The Smedjebacken Team and Aili

Aili Laasner of the European Safe Community Certifying Centre re-designated Smedjebacken, Sweden August 17. 2013

The city fulfills their International Safe Community obligations regarding all seven indicators. The whole community has been involved in the community safety promotion initiatives.Their work with vulnerable groups are outstanding

Borås City re-designated

Signing the agreement: Mayor Ulf Olsson, City Manager Svante Stomberg and Certifier ProfessorBørge Ytterstad

Borås City, Sweden with population 104000 was re-designated International Safe Community June 3. 2013

Borås municipality was designated Safe Community in 1998. The re-application shows that very good work is being done in Borås. The application not only fulfils the requirements for re-certification but serve as a showcase for a populous Safe Communities. They document good work towards preventing injuries for vulnerable groups e.g. low income, disabilities and ethnic groups The joint efforts of municipal public institutions in the preventive work in e.g. traffic, schools, children, sports and homes show a well organised Safe Community. Borås has done pioneer work on the Safe Hospital concept. Not unlike many other Swedish communities they have a potential for improvement concerning documenting injuries sustained in home and leisure. The complete report on the assessment of Borås re-designation may be found on the Karolinska institute website.

Arctic Race of Norway and Safe Community Harstad

Preparation for Arctic Race "Bicycle Train" by Harstad Tigers, Safe Community and the "Rainbow People"

An international Bicycle Race used for promoting physical exercise and safe cycling in an International Safe Community

The Arctic Race of Norway is an international bicycle race occurring right after Tour de France. The race starts in Bodø, north of the Arctic Circle and winds through Lofoten, Vesterålen and ends in Harstad August 11th 2013. The event is extensively broadcasted internationally and represents an opportunity for promoting safe cycling. Harstad will in 2014 start building an extensive network of pedestrian and bicycle pathways. There in a formidable challenge is to increase the use of bicycles to work and for play and leisure. This is good opportunity for health and safety promotion in "Harstad, City of Diversity"

• Read more/download PDF

Child Safety Report Card

The Child Safety Report Cards monitor and report the status for child safety from injury in different European countries

Child Safety Report Cards have been released as part of the project - TACTICS (Tools to Address Childhood Trauma, Injury and Children’s Safety) of the European Child Safety Alliance. “Report Cards” developed and released for more than 30 countries and the Europe Summary Report Card, score countries on their level of adoption, implementation and enforcement of over 100 proven, effective child injury prevention strategies – good practices known to save children’s lives. The good practice policies relate to road traffic accidents, drowning, falls, poisoning, burns, choking and supports, such as leadership, data infrastructure and professional capacity, necessary to combat child injury.

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Tøreboda, Sweden re-designated 12. October 2012

Certifyer and signaturees posing proudly in front of Safecom flag and plaque

Tøreboda, population 10 000, was first designated International Safe Community in 2005. Lars-Åke Bergmann and Lars-Erik Lind signed the agreement for five more years of membership of the Safecom family

Tøreboda has documented impressive multi-disciplinary and trans-sectorial cooperation towards injury prevention and safety promotion. All seven mandatory indicators for re-certification are met. The community has benefited from the Skaraborg county system for injury data collection. This has enabled evidence based targeting of interventions and evaluation of results. Injury prevention has a strong position under the umbrella of general health promotion work in the community. Tøreboda has amalgamated the community societal security system with the daily life safety e.g. in home and leisure activities, schools, traffic and work.

Vorarlberg, Austria re-designated 10. October 2012

The signing by Dr. Christian Bernhard and Mag. Harald Sonderegger

Vorarlberg has 360 000 inhabitants and includes 96 municipalities, first designated 1998 as no 22 in the world and re-designated in 2002.

The injury prevention work in Vorarlberg has been exemplary evaluated and documented by assessment of injury rates and expenditure of injury related hospital resources. The results are compared to national figures and are impressive in terms of preventing human suffering and saving societal resources. In an European setting this large community has been an exemplary model for top-down (from the Central administration) and bottom-up work (in the 96 Municipalities). In the period between 1997 and 2004 a total evaluation and scientific monitoring was carried out by the Institute for Safe Living (Traffic Safety Board, Dr. Rupert Kisser). Presently, evaluation is performed in different programs. These programs are targeting injuries occurring in Vorarlberg and documented in their Injury Data Base e.g. sports injuries and chain-saw injuries occurring in forestry.

• Video of Ceremony

Falkøping, Sweden redesignated

Mayor of Falkøping Ulf Eriksson receiving Safecom Placard at ceremony

At the third European Regional Conference in Falkøping (31600), the host city was re-designated June 5th 2012.

Falkøping was the one of the first communities in Sweden and the world to be accredited as an International Safe Community. Falkøping was re-certified in 2004.
Hosting the third Regional European Safe Community Conference, Falkøping provided for seamless logistics, high quality presentations from academics, field workers and community administrators. Falkøping has been and still is a showcase for Safe Community practices. A special thanks to public health coordinator Titti Walterum for her dedication and hard work towards a successful conference.

ESCON board meeting in Falkøping June 5th 2012

From left to right: Inge Kristensen (Horsens, Denmark), Børge Ytterstad (Harstad, Norway), Aimo Ahti (Kouvola, Finland), Mirjana Milankov (Novi Sad, Serbia) and Aili Laasner (Rapla, Estonia).

The main theme for disussion was the sustainability of the ESCON board activity towards promotion of the Safecom model in Europe

Titti Walterum (Falkøping, Sweden) was nominated for a new board member. Titti has agreed to work with us. Considering the tremendous job she has done together with the Falkøping team in organising the Conference, we are very pleased to have her on board in the crew.

The main challenge for ESCON presently is funding for our work. The board has unanimously proposed to establish a co-operative agreement with WHO Collaborating Centre on Community Safety Promotion (WCCCSP)
regarding a sustainable system for the network to function. Our aim is to promote Safe Com practices and facilitate development of Safe communities in Europe.

ESCON has been a strong advocate for an equitable and diversified system for accreditation of International Safe Community status. The newly made proposal from WCCCSP on this new system is highly appreciated.

The Falkøping Conference was professionally organized with diversified and high quality presentations. ESCON thanks the organizers for scholarships that made possible a full board attendance.

ESCON extracurricular activity

The “cultural section” of ESCON is discussing strategies for the performance at the Conference Banquet. Inge is an accomplished jazz vocalist and sang “Walking my Baby back Home” and “Ack Värmland du sköna”

The ESCON board has a section for jazz music

Ludvika, Sweden re-certified 23. February 2012

Ludvika (26 000) was certified i 2000 and is one of three certified Safe Communities in the Dalarna County

Banja Luca designated

Banja Luca Certification Ceremony. Professor Leif Svanstrøm at work

4. May 2011. City of Banja Luka (225.000), Republica Serbska-Bosnia and Herzegovina, became the 235 th Safe Community in the world and the 4th Safe Community in South Eastern Europe Safe Community Network.

Deutschlandsberg designated Safe Children Community

Bo Henricsson certifying in Austria

17. Novembar 2011. Deutschlandsberg, Austria was designated as a first Safe Children Community in the world.

Motala Sweden redesignated


Motala, Sweden (42 000) was designated International Safe Community as 4th in the world in 1990, redesignated in 2004 and redesignated Nov. 15 2011

Motala has been a frontrunner in the Safe Community Movement in terms of injury data capture, analysis and evaluation of interventions.

Early involvement of University of Linkøping led to publication of several articles in international peer-reviewed journals.
Several of these articles have been reviewed by a Cochrane Group.

• The Cochrane Collaboration

Viljandimaa Estonia designated

Aili Laasner and the Viljandi Safecom crew

As the third International Safe Community in Estonia, Viljandimaa (55 000) was designated November 3. 2011

Estonias first International Safe Community Rapla (28 000) was designated in 2004 and re-designated in 2009. In 2010 Laane (28 000) was designated. Further information on the Estonian Safe Communities may be seen on

Re Norway designated

Certifyer Guldbrand Skjønberg and attentive audience

As no 18 in Norway, Re municipality (9000) in Vestfold County was designated International Safe Community 20. May 2011.

Kepez Turkey designated

Certification ceremony in Kepez

Kepez, Turkey (387 000) designated International Safe Community 7. April 2011 as the first Turkish member of the Safecom Movement.

Delmenhorst Germany designated

The second International Safe Community in Germany was designated 25. March 2011. Delmenhorst (78 000) has a long record of injury prevention and safety promotion. Dr. Johann Bøhmann and co-workers have highlighted child safety.