National Alliance for Drowning Prevention (NADP) has organized a press conference making the wake-up call to stay vigilant to keep the children safe from drowning.
NADP has made the call when citizens at large are getting ready to celebrate the upcoming Eid al-Fitr and the holidays are going to be longer this year. On this holy occasion, people usually move to the native villages and off to the tourist spots for leisure and recreation.
Bangladesh Health and Injury Survey (BHIS) 2016 evidenced that the drowning mortality rate is 11.7 per 100,000 people per year, resulting in a total of 19,247 deaths, with children accounting for two-thirds of those killed. Every day 30 under-five children drown, which accelerates on such occasions if the parents do not stay vigilant leaving their children unsupervised.
Referring the study finding that 68% of drowning incidents occur between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the majority of incidents occurring in ponds (66%) and ditches (16%) located nearest to households when the parents particularly the mothers remain busy with the household works, NADP convener Sadrul Mazumder mentioned that during this period most of the children remain unsupervised and in our country, we are yet to develop institutional supervision for children at the national scale.
Sadrul mentioned that during such festivals people usually visit their native villages and different tourist locations but children habituated with the urban life rarely have practical experiences of the rural setting and mostly do not have swimming skills. In such circumstances when they roam around unsupervised, they become exposed to drowning for which they required constant supervision, he added.
Mentioning that an increased number of people nowadays visit the famous tourist spots like Coxes Bazar, Saint Martin and Kuakata Sadrul urged the concerned government agencies to install efficient lifeguard services to ensure the safety of the tourists in the water.
Former Professor of Medicine, BSMMU and Secretary-General of NADP Dr Md Abdul Jalil Chowdhury mentioned that drowning is preventable but the rate of drowning cannot be reduced if the mass people do not become aware of the adversity of drowning.
Talking about the psychological impact of drowning Professor Jalil Chowdhury mentioned that if a single child of a family drowns then other members of the family enter into a traumatic situation, which needs to be addressed. Thus alongside the festivity, the senior members of the family should stay vigilant all the time.
Gender & Women Rights Activist and NADP Adviser Selina Ahmed Ena mentioned that though the rate of female child drowning is lower compared to male children, female members of the household, especially mothers, have to face cruelty from other family members, which needs to be taken care of.
She mentioned that it is worth understanding that the implementation of drowning prevention interventions has created scope for women's social and economic empowerment through their engagement in the implementation of the interventions such as running the daycare facilities and transferring lifesaving skills to swimming.