In recognition of the rapidly increasing trend of urbanisation and associated challenges, especially in developing country contexts, organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the UN-HABITAT in particular, have been intensifying efforts at getting municipal authorities and other stakeholders to examine the health inequities in cities and to take action.
For many countries however, especially in developing country contexts, there is largely the absence of comprehensive and reliable indicators and indices of safety and peace to guide appropriate evidence-led and context-appropriate interventions, and to allow for evaluations of progress and effectiveness. The high levels of injury and criminal events together with South Africa’s historical context provide a particularly relevant context and test bed for the development of safety and peace indices.
Accordingly, this presentation will report on a project that focuses on developing a Safety and Peace Promotion Index in South Africa. A large component of the project centres on a five-year collaborative initiate with the City of Johannesburg to develop a Public Safety Measure (PSM). This tool, the first of its kind in the country, will allow for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of safety-related projects in the City. The PSM will also serve as a benchmarking tool for the City to measure its outcomes and successes across the country and internationally, and also allow for advocacy initiatives around service delivery and safety and security.
Following the development of the PSM, selected context-appropriate prevention actions and safety promotion initiatives focused on vulnerable groups and environments will be developed. Process, outcome and impact of the prevention actions and safety promotion initiatives are planned, as well as publications including academic journal articles and materials for public information and engagement.
Following several workshops towards the development of a conceptual model for this work, a comprehensive listing of indicators across five categories have been delineated, relating to: (a) Neighbourhood processes such as social cohesion; (b) Crime, violence and injury rates; (c) Crime and judicial services such as police performance measures; (d) Infrastructure such as safe road crossings; and (e) Deprivation.
Other highlights focus on the project’s alignment with safety and developmental policies within the City, the incorporation of unique contextual influences on safety at the community level, and the development of an informational observatory to support the development of the project. The conceptual and operational considerations in developing this Index in the South African setting will be discussed, along with the next steps for the development of the project.
About the Speaker
Anesh Sukhai is a Research Scientist with the Safety and Peace Promotion Research Unit, which is co-directed by the South African Medical Research Council and the University of South Africa. His background is with public health, emergency care medicine, and town and regional planning.
He obtained his Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Western Cape and he has also submitted his PhD thesis at the University of East Anglia, UK. His PhD focussed on the physical and social environmental determinants of road traffic injury in South Africa.
His current research centres on injury epidemiology and surveillance, with a particular focus on road traffic injuries. He also has an interest in geographical and GIS approaches to injury and health, and with happiness and wellbeing related research.