Injuries in Pakistan: Directions for future health policy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Health Policy and Planning








Injuries result in major financial and productivity losses to nations while inflicting tremendous personal burden on the injured and their families. Two-thirds of the global deaths from injuries occur in the developing world, consuming substantial health sector resources. Pakistan is a developing country with a population of 136 million and no reported estimate of the national impact of injuries. This study presents a profile of injuries in Pakistan, estimates the impact on the country and recommends strategies to further delineate this important public health problem. A methodical review of published, unpublished and government literature was undertaken and data collected for all types of injuries principally over the 1982-1994 period. Motor vehicle injuries, homicides, assaults, work-related injuries, poisonings and risk factors have been included. Selected epidemiological estimates have been generated and the WHO motorization index has been used to assess road-side accident risk. The lack of reliable data and under-reporting of work-related injuries is revealing. The rising time trend in all injuries, the significant loss of life from injuries and the age of those injured have a critical impact on the national economy and health system. Data on injuries in Pakistan are primarily recorded by police authorities and used for legal purposes. Pakistan must institute an information system to evaluate the true impact of injuries and develop national safety standards. Implementation of such standards is especially important for road traffic safety and occupational health in industrial units within the country.