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Guardian Examines High Incidence Of Drowning Deaths Among Children In Bangladesh

“Bangladesh, a country crisscrossed with rivers and canals, has one of the highest drowning rates in the world,” the Guardian reports. “More than 17,000 Bangladeshi children drown every year — nearly 50 a day, according to the Bangladesh health and injury survey [.pdf], conducted in 2003,” the news service writes. “A report by UNICEF and the Alliance for Safe Children (Tasc) has found that the cause of death in roughly one in four children who die between one and 10 years of age is drowning,” making “drowning the leading killer of children in Bangladesh, overtaking diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia,” the Guardian adds.

“‘It’s a hidden epidemic,’ said Dr. Jahangir Hossain, program coordinator for the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB),” the Guardian writes. “Proportionate to population, more children die from drowning in Bangladesh than in any other country. But most of the programs combating child mortality are focused on infectious diseases. Drowning hardly gets a mention in national policy circles,” Hossain said, according to the newspaper. The article highlights the SwimSafe initiative, which “has trained more than 200,000 children” since its inception in 2006, noting, “SwimSafe is one component of a larger child injury prevention project, explains Amy Delneuville, child protection specialist with UNICEF in Bangladesh” (Al-Mahmood, 6/1).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.