Drowning prevention

Video produced by the World Health Organization and Royal Life Saving Society – Australia.

360,000 people die from drowning each year – over 90 per cent of them in low and middle income countries, and over half of them young people under the age of 25. That is around 42 deaths every hour, every day.

Drowning is among the ten leading causes of death for young people in every region of the world, with children under five disproportionately affected. Drowning kills two thirds of the number of those who die from malnutrition and over half the number of those killed by malaria.

These shocking statistics, from the World Health Organisation’s 2014 Global Report on Drowning, show the scale of the problem throughout the world – especially in poorer countries where people are in daily contact with water for work, transport and agriculture.

Prevention is essential, as when someone starts to drown, the outcome is often fatal. Survival usually depends on the speed of removal from the water and how quickly proper resuscitation can take place. So embedding basic swimming and lifesaving education, skills and leadership can make a real difference to communities around the world.

The Royal Life Saving Society supports the ten actions to prevent drowning outlined in the WHO report, both community based action and effective policies and legislation. Drowning prevention is a multi-sectoral issue, with much to be gained from working together with organisations across the heath, education and governmental sectors in all countries.

As an accredited organisation with the Commonwealth Secretariat, RLSS is well placed to take a leading and partnership role in downing prevention efforts across the Commonwealth, and is committed to working with other Commonwealth organisations to help reduce the terrible toll of death by drowning around the world,