Water sanitation hygiene

Global report on drowning

Preventing a leading killer


Global report on drowning cover illustration

Publication details

Number of pages: 76
Publication date: 2014
Languages: English
ISBN: 978 92 4 156478 6



The Global report on drowning is the first World Health Organization report dedicated exclusively to drowning – a highly preventable public health challenge that has never been targeted by a global strategic prevention effort. This report aims to change this. It sets out current knowledge about drowning and drowning prevention, and calls for a substantial scaling up of comprehensive efforts and resources to reduce what is an intolerable death toll, particularly among children and adolescents.

While drowning is a leading cause of death worldwide, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, prevention is possible. Evidence shows that a range of interventions are effective at preventing drowning. Among others, these include the strategic use of barriers to control access to water, provision of safe places such as day care centres for pre-school children, and teaching school-age children basic swimming skills. Progress in other areas called for in this report includes better and more integrated flood risk management; improved boating, shipping and f erry regulations; and development of national water safety policies.