Drowning remains the dominant reason of child deaths in the country
As many as 1,512 people have drowned or died in boat accidents in 967 incidents across Bangladesh in the past 19 months .
Nearly 70% or 1,056 of them were under the age of 10, according to a recent survey.
By collecting data on drowning deaths and analyzing various trends based on media reports since January 1, 2020, a group of media development and communications organizations in collaboration Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) has drawn such a picture.
However, due to the lack of a nationally effective information system on drowning deaths, most cases do not come up in the media. As a result, a complete picture is not available. The latest national survey on drowning deaths was conducted in 2016.
According to the survey conducted by the Center for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh in collaboration with the Department of Health and Unicef, about 19,000 people of all ages drown every year across the country.
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More than three-quarters of them, or about 14,500, are children under the age of 18. In other words, on an average, about 40 children under the age of 18 die by drowning every day in Bangladesh.
In the case of children under the age of five, the number is about 30 a day, or about 10,000 a year. According to the 2014 global report of the World Health Organization, 43% of under-five deaths in Bangladesh are due to drowning.
According to the study, Chittagong division has the highest number of drowning deaths in the last 19 months, with the exception of boat accidents, at 271. Besides, 228 people died in Dhaka, 201 in Rangpur, 185 in Rajshahi, 141 in Mymensingh, 127 in Barisal and 108 in Khulna division. The lowest death toll at this time was in Sylhet division, 61.
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The analysis found that 79% of drownings occurred during the day. Also, the highest number of drowning deaths occurred during the rainy season and the months before and after.
International day for the prevention of drowning
On April 28, the UN General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution on the prevention of drowning for the first time. As a result, the United Nations declared July 25 as "World Drowning Day."
The resolution was first raised in the UN General Assembly by Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations.
The Bangladesh government has already identified the issue of drowning as a major problem. Some work is being done in several districts on a pilot basis as a joint venture between the government and donor agencies.
Development Project Proposal has been formulated in this regard with a view to expanding these activities for child protection across the country.