The World Health Organization’s first Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer reveals that drowning claims the lives of 372,000 people each year and is among the ten leading causes of death for children and young people in every region.
Other findings from the report include:
- Globally, over half of all drowning deaths are among those aged under 25 years
- The highest rates for drowning are among children under five years of age
- Males are two times more likely to drown than females
- More than 90% of drowning occurs in low- and middle-income countries, with the highest rates in the African, South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions
“Efforts to reduce child mortality have brought remarkable gains in recent decades, but they have also revealed otherwise hidden childhood killers,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “Drowning is one. This is a needless loss of life. Action must be taken by national and local governments to put in place the simple preventive measures articulated by WHO.”
Strategies for local communities include: installing barriers to control access to water; providing safe places such as day care centres for children; teaching children basic swimming skills and training bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation. At national level, interventions include: adoption of improved boating, shipping and ferry regulations; better flood risk management and comprehensive water safety policies.
For a copy of the full report visit the WHO Violence and Injury Prevention website here.