Drown­ing - the Silent Killer

Diplomat East Africa - - Table of Contents -

in­come coun­tries ac­count for 91 per cent of un­in­ten­tional drown­ing deaths. Over half of the world’s drown­ing oc­curs in the WHO Western Pa­cific Re­gion and WHO South-East Asia Re­gion.

How­ever, the re­port shows drown­ing death rates to be high­est in the WHO African Re­gion; 10-13 times higher than those wit­nessed in the United King­dom or Ger­many re­spec­tively.

“Ef­forts to re­duce child mor­tal­ity have brought re­mark­able gains in re­cent decades but they have also re­vealed oth­er­wise hid­den child­hood killers. Drown­ing is one. This is a need­less loss of life,” said Dr Mar­garet Chan, WHO Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral at the re­port’s re­lease.

“Ac­tion must be taken by na­tional and lo­cal gov­ern­ments to put in place the sim­ple pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures ar­tic­u­lated by the WHO.”

Some of the risk fac­tors iden­ti­fied by the re­port in­clude age, gen­der, ac­cess to wa­ter, flood dis­as­ters and wa­ter trav­els. Other fac­tors men­tioned are lower so­cio-eco­nomic sta­tus, al­co­hol use near or in wa­ter, med­i­cal con­di­tions like epilepsy, and tourists un­fa­mil­iar with lo­cal wa­ter risks and fea­tures.

WHO has pointed out that drown­ing has been highly over- looked, but is a grow­ing silent global killer. It has urged gov­ern­ments and re­search and pol­icy com­mu­ni­ties to do more and pri­ori­tise drown­ing preven­tion and its in­te­gra­tion with other pub­lic health agen­das.

The re­port has of­fered rec­om­men­da­tions to gov­ern­ments to ‘tai­lor and im­ple­ment ef­fec­tive drown­ing preven­tion pro­grammes to their set­tings, im­prove data, and de­velop na­tional wa­ter safety plans’.

It has also pointed out the multi-sec­toral na­ture of drown­ing and called for bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion among UN agen­cies, gov­ern­ments, NGOs and aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions to pre­vent the rise of deaths through drown­ing.

While con­duct­ing the survey, WHO looked at the lat­est data avail­able in each coun­try, and cal­cu­lated the rate of drown­ing as the deaths per ev­ery 100,000 peo­ple within the pop­u­la­tion an­nu­ally.

In or­der to de­velop pre­ven­ta­tive pro­grams, WHO has worked with Min­istries of Health, at coun­try level, in a num­ber of low and mid­dle in­come coun­tries to pre­vent drown­ing through use of bar­ri­ers con­trol­ling ac­cess to wa­ter, and es­tab­lish­ment of day care cen­tres for pre-school chil­dren.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion has also funded re­search in low in­come coun­tries ex­plor­ing pri­or­ity ques­tions re­lated to drown­ing preven­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.