Drowning has been a major cause of death with over 2.5 million deaths in the last decade. The majority of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. The highest drowning rates are among children aged 1-4 years, followed by children aged 5-9 years. The human, social, and economic impact of these deaths is high and preventable.
In 2023, the 76th World Health Assembly adopted its first resolution on drowning prevention. This resolution aims to coordinate actions within the UN system on drowning prevention and to observe World Drowning Prevention Day on 25 July each year.
To mark this year’s World Drowning Prevention Day, WHO will focus on raising awareness on drowning as a public health issue and emphasize that anyone can drown, but no one should. There will also be an emphasis on raising awareness of the six evidence-based, low-cost drowning prevention interventions that countries and organizations can use to reduce the risk of drowning. These include:
1. Teaching basic swimming skills
2. Installing barriers to control access to water
3. Providing safe places for supervision of young children
4. Teaching safe rescue and resuscitation
5. Creating flood risk management measures
6. Implementing boating, shipping, and ferry regulations.