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World Drowning Prevention Day

  • 24 Jul 2023
  • 5 min read

For Prelims: World Drowning Prevention Day

For Mains: Drowning vulnerability of children to drowning in India, Effective interventions to prevent drowning

Source: TH

Why in News?

Recently, the alarming number of drowning incidents in India, with a significant proportion involving children, has brought attention to the urgent need for preventive measures.

  • As World Drowning Prevention Day, is approaching it is essential to address this preventable cause of death and raise awareness about safety measures that can help curb these tragedies.

What is World Drowning Prevention Day?

  • World Drowning Prevention Day is a global event that is held annually on 25 July to remember lives lost due to drowning and to increase knowledge on safety in and around water.
  • World Drowning Prevention Day was declared in April 2021 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution, which invited the World Health Organization (WHO) to coordinate actions within the UN system on drowning prevention.
  • This day is important because drowning is a major public health problem that has caused over 2.5 million deaths in the last decade, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The human, social and economic toll of drowning is intolerably high and entirely preventable.
    • The implementation of evidence-based, low-cost drowning prevention interventions can drastically reduce the risk of drowning.

What are the Statistics of Incidents associated with Drowning?

  • The latest WHO Global Health Estimates indicate that almost 236 000 people lost their lives to drowning in 2019.
    • Just over 50% of these deaths occur among those aged under 30 years, and drowning is the sixth leading cause of death worldwide for children aged 5-14 years.
    • Highest drowning rates occur among children aged 1–4 years, followed by children aged 5–9 years globally.
  • Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths.
  • Boys are at higher risk of drowning than girls.
  • Rural areas have higher drowning rates than urban areas.
  • Limited access to safe water increases vulnerability to drowning.
  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 36,362 drowning deaths reported in 2021 in India, with children being particularly vulnerable.

What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Drowning?

  • Drowning is defined as the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in liquid.
  • Drowning can result from various causes, such as floods, storms, boat accidents, lack of supervision, unsafe water sources, or recreational activities.
  • The main risk factors for drowning include age, gender, location, access to water, swimming ability, alcohol use, and lack of awareness.
  • Lack of swimming skills and water safety knowledge contributes to drowning risk.
  • Alcohol use impairs judgment and increases the likelihood of drowning.
  • Lack of awareness about drowning prevention measures reduces protective actions.

What are Some of the Effective Interventions to Prevent Drowning?

  • Install barriers around water bodies (pools, wells, ponds) to control access.
  • Provide safe areas away from water for children and adults.
  • Teach swimming and water safety skills, especially those who live near water or engage in water-related activities.
  • Training bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation techniques, such as Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or mouth-to-mouth breathing.
  • Enforce safe boating and shipping regulations, including wearing life jackets and proper maintenance.
  • Improve flood risk management with flood-resistant infrastructure and early warning systems.

What Are Government Initiatives to Tackle Drowning Deaths?

  • India:
    • The Indian government established an expert committee to draft the Drowning Prevention Framework of India.
    • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare introduced a 'National Emergency Life Support' provider course manual, covering drowning prevention in February 2022.
  • Global:
    • Global Alliance for Drowning Prevention was established during the 76th World Health Assembly meeting.
    • Aims to address global public health concerns related to drowning by 2029.
    • World Health Organization to coordinate action and prepare a global status report on drowning.
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