Drowning has been a leading cause of death, with over 2.5 million fatalities in the past decade. Unfortunately, a significant majority of these deaths, about 90%, occur in low- and middle-income countries. Among the age groups affected, children aged 1-4 years have the highest drowning rates globally, followed by children aged 5-9 years. These numbers reflect an alarming human, social, and economic toll that can be entirely prevented.
In response to this crisis, the 76th World Health Assembly adopted its first-ever resolution on drowning prevention in 2023. This resolution acknowledges the call from the United Nations General Assembly for the World Health Organization (WHO) to lead efforts in coordinating actions within the UN system for drowning prevention. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of observing World Drowning Prevention Day on 25 July each year.
To commemorate World Drowning Prevention Day, WHO is dedicated to raising awareness about drowning as a critical public health issue. The aim is to remind people that drowning can happen to anyone, yet no one should have to experience such a preventable tragedy. Furthermore, WHO aims to highlight six evidence-based and cost-effective interventions for drowning prevention that countries and organizations can implement. These interventions offer great potential in reducing the risk of drowning significantly.