The rate of death from drowning is much higher in rural areas compared to urban areas
A recent report has found that 83% of the people, who died from drowning in the last one and a half years, were children.
Conducted during January 2020-June 2021, the survey documented the deaths of 1,402 people in 875 drowning incidents. Of them, 1,164 (83%) were children.
Among the children, 514 were aged below four, 448 aged 5-9 years, 157 aged 9-14 years, 45 aged between 15 and 18 years, and 238 were aged 18+.
The study finds that among the child victims, 450 were girl children and 708 were boys. However, gender was not identified for six children.
Most of the child victims went to nearby water bodies while they were unattended, the report says.
The survey was conducted by SoMaSHTe, a media development and communication organization with support from Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), based on media reports on drowning in Bangladesh, says a press release.
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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is one of the leading causes of child deaths in Bangladesh. About 43% of children’s deaths in Bangladesh occurred due to drowning.
SoMaSHTe finds that the rate of deaths from drowning was much higher in rural areas compared to the urban areas as most of the deaths occurred in ponds and ditches near to the victim’s houses.
Of the deaths during the last 18 months, at least 322 people died in Dhaka division, 267 in Chittagong, 187 in Rangpur, 183 in Rajshahi, 143 in Mymensingh, 123 in Barisal, 109 in Khulna and 68 in Sylhet division, reads the statement.
During the period from June to October 2020, some 577 people died in drowning. The highest number of 171 drowning deaths occurred in August 2020. During the first quarter of 2020, some 217 people died but at the same period in 2021, a total of 577 people died of drowning.
Experts say the government should develop a nation-wise strategy to prevent child drowning, learning from proven interventions targeting those most prone to risk.
They suggest that a committed and long-term investment based on learning from the proven intervention such as community-based childcare centre is essential to prevent drowning incidents.
The government should also promote best practices for childcare centers with a special focus on creative incentives for maintaining quality and effective care, the statement reads.