It’s a crisis. The figures tell it all. Close to four million people, most of them children, have died due to drowning in the past decade. But there is no resolution from the United Nations (UN).
Speaking during the World Conference on Drowning Prevention (WCDP) in Durban South Africa a fortnight ago, stakeholders in the fight against drowning called upon delegates to lobby the UN to declare drowning a public health problem.
Drowning which stands as the third leading cause of accidental deaths claims up to 372 000 lives yearly. The number of children who die due to drowning is higher than maternal mortality and malnutrition.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) goal number 3 advocates for good health and well-being, but does not make specific mention of drowning.
“Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development…” reads part of SDG 3 without making mention of the deaths caused by drowning.
In her address, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) international advocacy manager Gemma May told the WCDP plenary session that there is need to push for the first UN declaration on drowning.
In an article published on www.daily-sun.com after the conference, policy activist Sadrul Hasan Mazumder wonders why drowning does not feature in the UN resolutions despite its death toll being two-thirds that of malnutrition and half that of malaria.
“Despite the cruel facts, in the history of the United Nations drowning is yet to be mentioned in any resolution. Although, the UN has set targets of reducing all preventable deaths by 2030 but drowning has not been mentioned, while without addressing the epidemic of drowning such target is impossible to achieve,” argues Mazumder.