World Drowning Prevention Day
Over 14,000 children die in Bangladesh due to drowning every year
Marking the World Drowning Prevention Day, WHO and UNICEF on Monday called on the governments, development partners, communities and individuals each to do their part to raise awareness and work to prevent the untimely deaths of thousands of children across the country. Each year, over 14,000 children in Bangladesh die due to drowning. Although largely unrecognized, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of five in the country, making it a major public health problem. “It is heart-breaking that so many lives are lost each year in this country. We know that these deaths are preventable. We urge individuals, communities and the government to join us in raising awareness and doing all we can to ensure every child’s right to survive and thrive,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh. Globally, drowning claims the lives of over 230,000 people every year. Nine in ten drowning cases occur in low- and middle-income countries, with children under the age of five being at the highest risk. Read: Drowning kills 2.5 million people in last decade: WHO In Bangladesh, where large areas of land remain submerged due to yearly floods, the absence of awareness and swimming skills can prove to be life-threatening. Children in rural areas who grow up near bodies of water are also exposed to the risk of drowning daily. Drowning is a significant public health concern and the third leading cause of unintentional death worldwide. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among children in Bangladesh. WHO recommends strategies and interventions to prevent drowning and continues to promote a multisectoral approach. By enhancing multisectoral collaboration, promoting strong leadership on drowning prevention, and implementing necessary actions, we can prevent the tragedy of drowning and achieve a safer, healthier future for all,” said Dr. Bardan Jung Rana, WHO Representative to Bangladesh. Evidence shows that drowning is preventable through low-cost solutions. Increased awareness among families and communities, providing safety and swimming skills for children and adolescents, ensuring childcare facilities for pre-school children, and national policies and investments for prevention can make a significant difference. In 2021, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 25 as World Drowning Prevention Day to acknowledge drowning as a leading cause of death around the world and highlight that every drowning death is preventable. WHO and UNICEF have been working with Government and non-government partners around the country to increase awareness on drowning prevention and provide children and adolescents with safe swimming skills.
Drowning kills 2.5 million people in last decade: WHO
Drowning is now a leading cause of death for children aged under five in many countries, the UN health agency said Friday. Around 2.5 million people died by drowning in the decade to 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said, as it set out a series of simple measures to help reduce the "entirely preventable cause of death." Around 60% of all drowning deaths were among those under the age of 30, with the highest rates among children aged under five, the WHO said ahead of the first-ever World Drowning Prevention Day, which falls on Sunday. "The shocking numbers included an estimated 236,000 people in 2019 alone who lost their lives due to drowning," Dr David Meddings, from the WHO's Social Determinants of Health department, told the media. READ: Four children drown on Eid day Flooding-related fatalities and deaths due to water transport accidents and intentional drownings are not included in the overall statistics, the UN agency said. "The exact rate of mortality might be much higher." The decline in the death rates of children aged under five from all causes over the past 40 years had masked the residual problem of deaths due to drowning, David said. "Drowning is now a leading cause of death for children under the age of five, in many, many countries." Drowning was the leading cause of death for under-fives in China and the second-biggest in the US and France, he added. "In Bangladesh, an estimated 40 children died from drowning every day in 2016 alone." However, drowning rates in low- and middle-income countries are more than three times higher than in high-income nations. The WHO said drowning disproportionately affected poor and marginalised communities which have the fewest resources to adapt to the risks around them. READ: 2 children drown in Gaibandha pond However, simple steps could prevent many deaths, such as installing barriers around wells, providing safe places for children to play away from water, and teaching youngsters basic swimming and water safety skills, David said. Greater training in safe rescue and resuscitation techniques would also help people to assist anyone who is drowning. Enforcing safe shipping loading and ferry regulations, and improving flood risk management, are two other interventions recommended by the WHO.