Disseminating and implementing injury prevention across cultures

The field of injury prevention enjoys a growing evidence base supporting the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions to prevent or mitigate many common injuries. Unfortunately, access to these interventions, policy and products is often limited in low and middle income countries. Dissemination of these effective interventions is an important but neglected strategy to address the disproportionate injury burden faced by individuals in less-resourced settings.

But can an intervention that works in the UK, Australia or North America be simply ported over to another country? Language barriers aside, are there not likely to be factors that might impact the acceptability and effectiveness of an intervention introduced into a new socio-cultural environment?

Danielle Erkoboni and colleagues have tackled just this issue in a paper that is the editor’s choice for October 2010: Cultural translation: acceptability and efficacy of a US-based injury prevention intervention in China.

In the study, the authors did NOT simply assume that an intervention shown to promote booster seat use in North America would work equally well when employed in China. Instead they tested that hypothesis.

It is notable that they did not start from scratch either. They repackaged the intervention in Chinese language but used essentially the same messaging and approach that had been successful with US parents. They recognized that for this approach to be successful there would need to be a fundamental cross-cultural comparability of the underlying theoretical constructs and models of health behavior.

That the intervention was accepted and successful offers a potential toll for promoting child passenger safety in this rapidly motorizing economy. But the study also provides a nice model for testing dissemination and implementation of our interventions in diverse settings. This is worth doing and it is worth doing well. Erkoboni and colleagues have shown us how.

As always, the editor’s choice is freely available at the journal’s website online.

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