Over 30 children die from drowning every day in Bangladesh, a survey report says.
The survey report was placed at a press conference organised by Synergos, an associate organisation of Bloomberg Philanthropies in Bangladesh, at a hotel in the capital on Wednesday.Bloomberg Philanthropies, in partnership with John Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, Centre for Injury Prevention and Research (CIPRB), and International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) jointly conducted the survey since 2012 which was updated in association with Bangladesh health ministry.
Annually, 10,000 children die from drowning countrywide turning it to be the leading cause of death for children under five years of age.
The survey also revealed that globally drowning claims lives of at least 3, 22,000 children every year. More than 90 percent deaths occur in low and middle income countries. Nearly 40 percent drowning deaths are under 15 age group. Children under five years of age are at most vulnerable segment.
Speaking at the press conference, the director of International Drowning Research-Bangladesh and Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh, Dr Aminur Rahman said, “Most of drowning deaths takes place in rural areas when mothers remain busy with domestic chores between 9:00 am -1:00 pm that too within 20 meters of their house that amounts 75 percent of total child death.”
He also said that upto 70 percent drowning deaths can be prevented if the children are kept in daycare centres.
“For overseeing children during the period, we have set up around 3,000 day care centres in seven upazilas of the country with the help of Bloomberg Philanthropies.”“In the day care centres, the children are kept away from water. Moreover, they get an opportunity for learning, socialising and improving their cognitive development as well.”
“We also train the children in different ways, including survival swim. There are 71,000 children in the day care centres,” he added.
Syergos, Esha Husain of Drowning Prevention Partnerships Project, said, “To achieve sustainable development, we need to redress the death caused by drowning. We need a political commitment and strategy and I think the government is well aware of the issue.”
Drowning Prevention lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies, Kelly Larson said, “We are encouraged by the work in Bangladesh to reduce childhood drowning. We are optimistic that the programme model can be replicated in other countries and hope the efforts of Bangladesh will continue with support from the national government for years to come.”
The coordinator of drowning prevention activities at WHO, Dr David Meddings, vice-director of the Department of Child Affairs and vice minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Dr Vu Thi Kim Hoa and director of John Hopkins International Injury Unit, Dr Abdulgafoor M Bachani also spoke on the occasion.