Thursday, 23 September, 2021

Child death from drowning on the rise

Child death from drowning on the rise

The child drowning cases have reached a shocking level in the country as a recent survey reported 83 percent children death among the total 1402 fatality caused by drowning in last one and a half year.

Most of the drowning cases echo this report published by a newspaper last month that said two school boys of Quantum Cosmo School and College in Lama Upazila of Bandarban district drowned while playing in front of their school.

The deceased were identified as Mohammad Abdul Kader Jilani, 12, from Chapainawabganj, and Shreyo Mostafiz, 12, from Thakurgaon, and they were students of class six at the residential school. The duo went to play in the field in front of the school at noon while it was raining. Later, they plunged into a pipe used to collect onrush water from the hilly upstream. The school authorities rescued them after being informed and took them to a local hospital where a doctor declared them dead.

The death rate from drowning is higher in rural areas compared to urban region.

The Center for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB) in collaboration with the Department of Health and Unicef conducted a survey on drowning during January 2020 to June 2021.

It showed that the deaths of 1,402 people occurred in 875 drowning incidents. Of them, 1,164 (83 percent) were children.

Among the deceased children, 514 were aged below four, 448 between 5-9 years, 157 between 9-14 years, 45 between 15-18 years and 238 above 18.

The survey also found that 450 girl and 708 boys were among the death children. Most of the child victims went to nearby water bodies unattended, the survey added. It revealed that around 19,000 people of all ages drown every year across the country.

The study also showed that Chattogram division saw the highest number of drowning deaths in the last 19 months including fatality of 271 boat accidents followed by 228 deaths in Dhaka, 201 in Rangpur, 185 in Rajshahi, 141 in Mymensingh, 127 in Barishal and 108 in Khulna division. The lowest 61 death toll was in Sylhet division.

CIPRB deputy executive director Dr Aminur Rahman said deaths from drowning occur within 20 metres from home.

“Most incidents of child drowning happen in ditches and ponds in rural areas. Lack of supervision is a key risk factor for child drowning. Sixty percent of accidents occur between 9am to 1pm when parents are busy with family responsibility,” he added.

Experts say reducing the number of deaths is essential to achieve the UN SDG goal, which is possible through family awareness, and joint government-private-NGO cooperation.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira said, “We wish to bring down children’s death from drowning to zero in the same way we have successfully reduced the maternal and child mortality rates. We are working on this critical child safety issue”.

She said, “The government has already identified the child drowning deaths as a serious concern and prioritises prevention. We have already taken 16 district child safety plan for two lakh children. Around 3.60 children will be provided with swimming lesson at an early age.”