Prevention campaigns in the country particularly effective in protecting children
Bangladesh has become a global frontrunner in conducting awareness campaigns and drawing up policies to prevent drowning related deaths, especially in the case of children, speakers at a webinar said on Wednesday.
Bangladesh co-proposed the first ever drowning prevention resolution with Ireland at the UN General Assembly in April this year. The resolution was adopted unanimously. Bangladesh now has the opportunity to become a role model in minimizing child deaths caused by drowning, the speakers added.
The webinar, titled “Bangladesh as a global leader in drowning prevention,” was arranged by the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE).
Bangladesh had one of the highest rates of children under the age of 5 drowning, with around 10,000 instances of child drowning each year, according to the Bangladesh Health and Injury Survey 2016.
“Bangladesh is one of the most drowning prone areas because of its geographical nature. Drowning is one of the top five causes of death for children of 1-14 years old in 48 countries, including Bangladesh, Australia, China and the USA,” said Vandana Shah, regional director of Global Health Advocacy Incubator of South Asia.
As a result, the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh initiated the “Anchals” model to prevent accidents and deaths related to drowning.
“In the Anchal centres, a group of children are looked after by an Anchal mother. Therefore, the children are not exposed to water when their parents are busy, and the children will be engaged in early educational activities at the same time,” said Ruhul Kuddus, country lead of Global Health Advocacy Incubator.
The Centre for Injury Prevention and Research (CIPRB) is managing 2,500 childcare centres in Bangladesh with financial support from Bloomberg Philanthropist, and the Anchal model is already considered to be successful.
“This model reduces drowning by up to 80% percent,” he added.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended Bangladesh’s community-based prevention model in its yearbook.
A three-year development project proposal (DPP) on integrated, community-based childcare centres and Swimstar Facilities has been awaiting approval from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council.
Under the DPP, 8,000 childcare centres will be established and 20,000 children under 5 will be accommodated. Children aged 6-14 will learn swimming.
Minister for Planning MA Mannan said: “Since the DPP has come to my ministry, I will definitely prioritize this one for our inspection. Issues related to children, women and rural areas are inherently prioritized in my work orders. I can assure a positive result.”