More than 80 percent of the victims of drowning in Bangladesh are children, according to a recent study.
The study conducted by Society for Media and Suitable Human-communication Techniques (SoMaSHTe) says some 968 people have died in 579 drowning incidents in last 15 months, 808 of whom were children.The findings were based on the news reports published in different national and regional media between January 2020 and March 2021.
SoMaSHTe, a media development and communication-based organisation, carried out the study in association with Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).
The study found a total of 211 people died in Dhaka division, 184 in Chattogram, 143 in Rangpur, 121 in Rajshahi, 106 in Mymensingh, 83 in Barisal, 72 in Khulna and 48 in Sylhet divisions.
It said the highest 51 deaths were recorded in Netrokona district. Besides, 46 people in Dhaka, 46 in Kurigram, 33 in Noakhali, 33 in Dinajpur and 28 in Gazipur died from drowning.
Among the deceased, 352 were female and 610 were male while 319 were girl children and 483 were boy children. Gender of six children couldn’t be identified, the report added.
Of the 808 children, 348 were aged below 4, 308 were between 5 and 9 years, 120 were aged between 9 and 14 years, and 32 were between 15 and 18 years, said the study.Most of the child victims went to nearby water bodies while they were unattended and maximum of the drowning cases occurred during the period from morning to afternoon.
The rate of death from drowning was much higher in rural areas compared to the urban areas. Most of the deaths occurred in ponds and ditches near to their homes, the report said.
The study suggested the government to develop a nationwide strategy to prevent child drowning, providing swimming training in the most drowning-prone areas.
Besides, it said long-term investment to establish community-based childcare centers is necessary in the country.
It is mentionable that drowning is one of the leading causes of child deaths in Bangladesh. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 43 percent of the total number of children’s deaths in Bangladesh occurred due to drowning.