Drowning has caused over 2.5 million deaths in the last decade across the world. The overwhelming majority of these deaths (90%) happen in low- and middle-income countries. Globally, the highest drowning rates occur among children aged 1–4 years, followed by children aged 5–9 years.
This year’s World Drowning Prevention Day saw a gamut of community led initiatives and events coordinated by CINI across the state of West Bengal with special emphasis on Sundarbans. Starting from rallies through swimming competitions and street plays scripted on actual incidents, several activities were organized. The swimming competition of the local children and members of child parliament highlighted the importance of swimming as a most important tool for survival and healthy living.
CINI in collaboration with The George Institute of Global Health and ICMR has been working extensively on the issues since long. The last joint survey revealed incidence of 3 child drowning cases everyday in Sundarbans. The successful completion of Indepth Community Survey also demands responsibility of reverting back to the community with feedback and plausible solution models.
A key highlight of CINI’s work in India has been galvanising communities at the centre of drowning risk mitigation in the Sundarbans. Instead of stopping at survey and data collection stage, CINI returned to the community initiative raising awareness on the few evidence-based, low-cost drowning prevention/intervention models. CINI also nurtured, motivated and mobilized 400 plus Self Help Groups (SHG), Panchayat, Health Department and Administration for implementing prototypes which may become instrumental in drastic reduction of drowning risk.
Mr. Sujoy Roy, National Advocacy Officer, Child In Need Institute (CINI) said, “CINI in the 50th Year has taken up the issue of preventable child death especially through drowning as the primal mission for active intervention and resistance building. In the long tradition of the organization’s commitment for protection of children’s rights to Health, Nutrition protection from abuse, exploitation and violence this aspect of preventing child drowning deaths shall be a foot forward in the direction of ensuring a safe and Child friendly community. Although the world as a whole has been accelerating progress in reducing the under-5 mortality rate the surveys are based on fatality statistics. If non fatal cases are considered the total case load of drowning phenomenon shall snowball a thousand fold. It is also noteworthy that apart from high profile drowning cases like the Titan submersible attracting international limelight, thousands of drowning incidents everyday goes unnoticed and unreported. Therefore the importance of CINI’S community led initiatives on The World Drowning prevention Day is in collective awareness generation and proactive resistance building to the silent epidemic.”