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Global call to prevent drowning

Tuesday November 18th, 2014

Drowning is among the ten leading causes of children and young people in all parts of the world, according to a major report published last night.

Some 372,000 people a year die globally from drowning and more than half of them are under the age of 25, according to the World Health Organisation.

Its study shows that most of these deaths - more than 90% - occur in poor countries, especially in Africa, south-east Asia and the western Pacific.

WHO calls for strategies to protect children against drowning, including teaching them basic swimming skills and training bystanders in rescue and resuscitation.

It says children should be protected from water - and this could include the use of barriers to control access.

The report warns that climate change could increase the risk of drowning - as does the large number of asylum seekers travelling by boat.

The research was funded by a philanthropic organisation set up by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Dr Etienne Krug, of WHO said: “Almost all water presents a drowning risk, particularly inside and around our homes.

“Drowning occurs in bathtubs, buckets, ponds, rivers, ditches and pools, as people go about their daily lives. Losing hundreds of thousands of lives this way is unacceptable, given what we know about prevention.”

Tags: A&E | Child Health | World Health

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