Geneva, Jul 25 (EFE).- Increasing global investment in drowning prevention measures could save the lives of up to 774,000 children by 2050, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a feasibility study published on Tuesday.
The research, released on the occasion of the first World Drowning Prevention Day, predicted that the investment could also prevent close to one million non-fatal child drownings, and avert severe and life-limiting injuries for 178,000 drowning victims.
“By implementing effective preventive measures, increasing investments, and promoting awareness, we can save countless lives,” David Meddings, an expert at the WHO’s Department of the Social Determinants of Health, said at a press conference in Geneva.
“We ask countries and partners to join hands to make drowning prevention a global priority,” he added.
According to the study, the main preventive actions include investing in daycare for pre-school aged children and teaching basic swimming skills to school-age children that “could protect millions of lives.”
These measures could also prevent potential economic losses of over $400 billion in low- and middle-income countries, where 90 percent of the drowning fatalities occur.
“Across all age groups, children aged 1-4 years and 5-9 years experience the highest drowning rates, highlighting the need for immediate action to protect future generations,” the WHO said in a statement.
On the Drowning Prevention Day, WHO also launched the Global Alliance for Drowning Prevention, a network of partners including United Nations agencies that would coordinate, enhance, and expand efforts to prevent drowning deaths across the continents.
The WHO has been also preparing its first-ever global status report on drowning that will be released in November 2024.
“This report will give us the first-ever comprehensive overview of things like data sources around drowning in different countries and interventions that have been implemented to prevent drowning,” Meddings said.
The WHO estimates that drowning has caused over 2.5 million deaths in the last decade with an alarming 90 percent of these fatalities occurring in low-and middle-income countries. EFE