Violence and Injury Prevention

Global report on drowning prevention

Globally an estimated 359 000 people drown worldwide each year, among them more than 63 000 children under the age of 5 years. Drowning is one of the ten leading causes of death for children in every region of the world.

Yet a range of prevention measures exists to prevent drowning, including providing safe places for children, teaching basic swimming and water safety skills, installing barriers preventing access to water hazards and ensuring first aid and immediate resuscitation.

With support from Bloomberg Philanthropies through its Drowning Prevention Project, WHO has undertaken the development of its first ever global report devoted exclusively to the topic. The WHO Global report on drowning prevention, which will cover drowning in all countries of the world across all ages, will set out what is known about drowning and drowning prevention, and will call for a substantial scaling-up of comprehensive efforts and resources targeted at prevention.

An Advisory Committee and an Editorial Committee have been constituted to guide development of the report, drawing upon a wide range of global experts in the field. After an extensive consultation process, a first draft of the report was developed in late 2013 and a second draft is currently being written based on a rigorous peer review.

The Global report on drowning prevention is expected to be released in late 2014. The main report will be accompanied by infographics and other media materials. At the time of the global launch, WHO plans to host a series of workshops for journalists, with the aim of enhancing reporting on drowning and its prevention, as a means of bringing the report’s main findings and recommendations to a wider group of policy-makers.

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