Tiffin Talk: "Tackling a million deaths a year: Australian-Indian Trauma System Collaboration" by Professor Russell Gruen

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19 September 2013 12:45 pm

Of the 5 million people who die from injury each year globally, up to 1 million of them die in India. In India and Australia, more productive years of life are lost following serious injury than from any other cause. For victims of motor vehicle crashes, workplace accidents and falls, good trauma care and rehabilitation saves lives, reduces long-term disability, and enables injured people to return to family, community and work life. As important, or more important, than discovering new treatments is research about how to provide proven effective treatments to all people who are severely injured.

The Victorian State Trauma System in particular, has learnt much about improving care in specialist trauma centres, better coordination of service providers, and improving access to expert care for the many who don’t have immediate access to specialist trauma care. There is increasing recognition internationally about the benefits of trauma systems, but little knowledge about the effectiveness of specific interventions and how they can be implemented. With a $2.6 million 4-year Grand Challenge Award from the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, we have chosen four low-cost but innovative ‘best-buy’ trauma system interventions that are underdeveloped in India and Australia, that span pre-hospital, hospital and post-hospital care, that could be separately implemented without extensive health system change, that capitalise on new technologies where relevant, and that could be readily evaluated.

Our project aims to rigorously evaluate these four trauma system components as they are introduced in participating sites in India, and at the same time lay the foundations of a nationally-relevant trauma system for the benefit of injured people in India. We will utilise our established partnerships and Australian and international injury and trauma systems expertise, combined with an unparalleled real-world ‘laboratory’ for understanding the effects of new interventions that high-volume Indian centres provide. Our 4-year proposal also includes putting in place procedures for monitoring system performance, collecting baseline data about injuries, management and outcomes, consultation about potential feasible interventions, workshops for system-wide capacity building, evaluation of interventions, and consultation with key Australian and Indian Government stakeholders.


About the Speaker:

Professor Russell Gruen MBBS PhD FRACS is Professor of Surgery and Public Health at Monash University, a general and trauma surgeon at The Alfred, and Director of the National Trauma Research Institute (NTRI).