‘Do one thing’ to save lives on World Drowning Prevention Day: WHO
Drowning deaths are frequently linked to:
🪣 collecting water for domestic use
⛴️ travelling over water on boats or ferries
⛈️ seasonal or extreme weather events like monsoons
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) July 25, 2022
The majority of drowning deaths, more than 90 per cent, occur in low- and middle-income nations, with children under five at greatest risk.
Most deaths preventable
These deaths are frequently linked to daily routine activities, such as bathing, collecting water for household use, travelling on boats or ferries, and fishing. The impacts of monsoons and other seasonal or extreme weather events are also a frequent cause.
“Every year, around the world, hundreds of thousands of people drown. Most of these deaths are preventable through evidence-based, low-cost solutions,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General.
To commemorate World Drowning Prevention Day, cities across the world are lighting up some of their prominent landmarks in blue.
WHO has its headquarters in Geneva, and the Jet d’Eau in Lake Geneva – one of the most famous attractions in the Swiss city – will be illuminated in blue on Monday evening.
Focus on solutions
The UN’s health agency works with partners, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in the United Kingdom, and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator, to raise awareness on drowning prevention.
The founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, described drowning as a global public health challenge.
“In many cases, we know what works to prevent drowning. We’ve developed tools and guidance to help governments implement solutions – and if we do more together, we really can save thousands of lives,” said Mr. Bloomberg, the WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries.
WHO has recommended six evidence-based measures to prevent drowning, which include installing barriers controlling access to water, and training bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation techniques.
School-aged children also should be taught basic swimming and water safety skills, while boys and girls should be provided supervised daycare.
Other measures call for setting and enforcing safe boating practices, shipping and ferry regulations, and improving flood risk management.