July 25: World Drowning Prevention Day

Drowning is one of the significant causes of death for children aged between 5-14 years. In the last decade, over 2.5 million people lost their lives due to drowning.

It is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. Fishers form a sizable section of the population who are vulnerable to drowning if adequate measures aren’t provided. Low and middle-income countries account for 90% of the total unintentional drowning deaths. Therefore, drowning isn’t only an individual crisis but is also a social and economic crisis, particularly in the global south. 

A historic step has been taken this year, as the UN has adopted a resolution

 on drowning prevention, acknowledging the issue for the first time. The resolution, which the General Assembly passed, has been given recognition by all 193 member states. It calls for a coordinated approach for drowning prevention and sets out the actions that every country should take to prevent drowning. 

Multi Stakeholder approach to prevent drowning:

During this day, all stakeholders can take the following steps in a coordinated manner to prevent drowning:

  • Install barriers near water bodies that are accident-prone
  • Preventing school children from accessing unsafe water bodies
  • Making swimming an essential part of the curriculum in school
  • Training people in rescue and resuscitation
  • Implementing laws and policies on safe ferry and boating services
  • Improving flood management

These action points can be easier to implement in the community set up like schools, colleges, and residential clubs. It is only when a bottom-up approach is adopted that we can reduce the unwanted accidents of drowning. 

Drowning does not directly feature in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), yet in cuts across many SDGs like SDG 3 (on ending preventable deaths of newborn babies and children younger than five years) and SDG 6 (on reducing deaths from injuries) and SDG 9 (building resilient infrastructure). Therefore, it is important to address the issue in a multisectoral matter that will positively impact people’s well-being. 

For more information, please click here.

Shristi Banerjee

Roya Institute Global Representative- India

Practicing Advocate, High Court of Jharkhand (India)