6 Oct 2018

How a new initiative aims to reduce drowning in Bangladesh

How a new initiative aims to reduce drowning in Bangladesh

An estimated 360,000 people drown worldwide every year. It is a staggering number, yet this global problem isn’t receiving the serious attention it needs.

Drowning is the leading cause of child mortality in Bangladesh, responsible for nearly half of deaths of one to four year-olds. Each year, over 15,000 children in Bangladesh lose their lives to the water.

We were honoured to report on a new initiative in Barisal, the southernmost tip of the country, which has the highest drowning rates in the country, and where rescuers and educators from Bangladesh’s Centre for Injury Prevention and Research (CIPRB) are now leading the fight to make water safety a priority.

The family of 3-year-old Maisha Begum, who drowned in January 2018

Although the problem can seem overwhelming, the solutions are often low-cost, simple and have a high impact. A 2012 study found that swimming lessons in Bangladesh reduced a child’s chance of drowning by 93%. The CIPRB is providing swimming lessons and community crèches, known locally as anchals, where young children can play supervised during the day.

The story gathered by our director, Angela Robson, was featured on Health Check, on the BBC World Service: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cswjkw


More about CIPRB’s work on drowning prevention can be found on their website: http://www.ciprb.org/centres/international-drowning-research-centre-bangladesh-idrc-b/

A community crèche in Barisal province. Photos: Angela Robson