Objective: To determine the status of existing violence and injury prevention (VIP) efforts and surveillance systems in the Caribbean.
Methods: The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) undertook a survey to gather evidence of VIP in 24 CARPHA member states. The survey was administered to national epidemiologists and non-communicable disease focal points in October 2015 using an online tool, ‘Survey Monkey’. Questions were asked about the availability in each country of VIP representative surveys, policies, action plans, laws, victim support services, and surveillance systems.
Results: Nineteen (79%) countries completed the VIP survey. Only three (16%) countries indicated having conducted a nationally representative survey. Twelve (63%) had not developed a national policy, and 14 (74%) had not implemented an action plan on VIP. Each country reported the existence of VIP laws and offered victim support services, though average law enforcement ranged from 40% to 79%. Nine (47%) countries indicated using an injury registry, and 15 (79%) reported collecting injury data using in-patient records, mainly from public hospitals. All 19 countries confirmed that records of reported violent incidents were maintained by the police. Unique identifiers were generally lacking in registries and data collected by the police. Only four (44%) countries with registries, 10 (67%) countries with in-patient injury data, and 12 (63%) countries with police records indicated that the data were shared with other organizations.
Conclusion: Each country reported some level of injury surveillance system. However, such systems should be harmonized to produce more complete baseline data. The use of unique identifiers is required to reduce duplication and effectively link surveillance systems available in countries.