Over 14,000 children die of drowning in Bangladesh annually: WHO, UNICEF

News Desk : dhakamirror.com

A representational image of drowning

In Bangladesh, more than 14,000 children drown each year, according to a joint media release from the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

Over 14,000 children in Bangladesh die from drowning each year, making it the second largest cause of mortality for children under the age of five in the country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) urged the government, development partners, communities, and individuals to do their part to raise awareness and work to prevent the untimely deaths of thousands of children across Bangladesh in a joint press release on World Drowning Prevention Day, which falls on Monday.

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“It is heart-breaking that so many lives are lost each year in this country. We know that these deaths are preventable. We urge individuals, communities and the government to join us in raising awareness and doing all we can to ensure every child’s right to survive and thrive,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.

Lack of knowledge and swimming abilities can be deadly in Bangladesh, where large portions of the country remain underwater owing to periodic floods. Children who are raised near bodies of water in rural settings face a daily risk of drowning.

“Third-leading cause of unintentional mortality worldwide, drowning is a serious public health concern. In Bangladesh, drowning is one of the main causes of mortality for children “said Bardan Jung Rana, the WHO representative in Bangladesh.

Increased awareness among families and communities, providing safety and swimming skills for children and adolescents, ensuring childcare facilities for pre-school children, and national policies and investments for prevention can make a significant difference, read the release.

Globally, drowning claims the lives of over 230,000 people every year. Nine in 10 drowning cases occur in low- and middle-income countries, with children under the age of five being at the highest risk.

In 2021, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 25 as the World Drowning Prevention Day to acknowledge drowning as a leading cause of death worldwide and highlight that every death from drowning is preventable.

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