30 children die from drowning every day on average in Bangladesh, according to a survey
Children under the age of 10 account for 80% of all yearly drowning-related deaths in Bangladesh, according to a survey.
Besides, 30 children die from drowning every day on average in the country.
The information, obtained from a 2016 survey backed by the health directorate, was shared during a virtual discussion, “National Dialogue on Drowning Prevention”, on Tuesday.
It was jointly organized by Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), Bangladesh ECD Network (BEN), Society for Media and Suitable Human Communication Techniques (SoMaSHTe) and the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB).
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira attended the meeting as the chief guest, while lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha and former Bangladesh Shishu Academy chairman Selina Hossain were present as special guests.
The discussion was chaired by CAMPE Executive Director Rasheda K Chowdhury, who opened the session by addressing the lack of seriousness regarding deaths related to drowning.
“We have no idea about how many children as well as adults die in our villages from drowning every year. We do not have the time to wait for extra funding to address this issue; we have to integrate a drowning awareness campaign into our ongoing programs and activities,” she said.
CIPRB Deputy Executive Director Dr Aminur Rahman presented the keynote paper, “Drowning — A neglected but preventable child health issue”.
Also Read - Siblings among 3 children drown in Khagrachhari
He attributed the high drowning mortality rate in the country to limited or no access to tap water, regular water transportation, absence of protective facilities around water bodies, lack of monitoring of children and lack of people’s skills in resuscitating a person after he has inhaled water.
“We are glad that the government has finally started to look into this issue, but it is still not a national priority,” he said.
“Ponds adjacent to homes (within 40m) account for the highest number of drownings (62%), followed by rivers (12%), lakes (12%) and ditches (11%), while other water sources make up the rest. The highest number of such incidents occur during daylight hours,” Dr Aminur noted.
Meanwhile, Dr Manzoor Ahmed, vice chair of CAMPE, called for the immediate establishment of district child development centres.
On that note, Unicef representative Mohammad Mohsin said: “If the child development centres are institutionalized as community-based day-care centres, we will be able to save countless lives.”
The speakers also called for the inclusion of childcare as a separate topic while training teachers, as most relevant efforts would be ineffective without assistance from teachers and caregivers.
State Minister Fazilatun Nessa Indira hoped that the number of drowning-related deaths would be brought down to zero.
“The Child Daycare Centre Bill 2021 is being worked on right now. We will definitely consider every constructive recommendation made today,” she said.
Emphasizing the need for a coordinated awareness program, Quazi Faruque, member of the National Education Policy Formulation Committee, said: “We should include awareness messages and instructions on what to do after a drowning into our curriculum. We could publish them as booklets for teachers and guardians as well.”