Childhood drowning and traditional rescue measures: case study from Matlab, Bangladesh
- 1Health Systems Program, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
- 2Public Health Sciences Division, The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh
- 3International Injury Research Unit, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
- 4Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
- Correspondence to Dr Nagesh N Borse, CDC—Center for Global Health, 1600 Clifton Road, MS E-41, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA;
- Accepted 19 January 2011
- Published Online First 11 March 2011
Recent mortality data indicate that approximately half a million people drown each year worldwide, with more than 97% of such deaths occurring in low-income and middle-income countries. The purpose of this study was to examine verbal autopsy data on the circumstances of childhood drowning in Matlab, Bangladesh. The study analysed 10 years (1996–2005) of data which reported 489 deaths in children under 5 years and recorded preimmersion, immersion and postimmersion events. The data summarised household characteristics, age, gender and time of drowning event. The study also examined traditional rescue methods performed on children who were removed from the water OR found drowning. Of 489 deaths, 57% were aged 1–2 years and had a drowning mortality rate of 521 per 100 000 children. Most drowning events occurred during the morning (68%), in ponds (69%), and while the mother was busy doing household chores (70%). Traditional rescue methods were attempted in 55% of children and the most frequently reported measure was to spin the child over head (35%). Only 3% of families tried to perform resuscitation. Verbal autopsy data for Matlab is a useful resource for childhood injury research in a low-income country. The study is one of the first to publish data on traditional rescue practices performed on drowning children in rural Bangladesh. The findings suggest that interventions should be designed using locally identified risk factors to reduce childhood drowning incidents. Community-based resuscitation techniques and emergency medical systems are needed to improve postimmersion recovery of the child.
At the time of the work Dr Borse was a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins and an International Fellow at the ICDDR,B.
Funding This research was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This project was also partly supported by USAID Family Health and Child Survival Cooperative Agreement through Global Research Activity to Johns Hopkins University.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.