The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit will begin a new research project in rural Bangladesh this year that aims to study the acceptability of using wireless alarm systems in the prevention of drowning. Alain Labrique, assistant professor in the Department of International Health, and Dr. Adnan Hyder, director of the Unit, will lead the six-month project. Dr. Labrique received a Faculty Innovations Fund award from the Bloomberg School to support this research.
Unintentional injuries are the biggest killer of children ages 1-15 in Bangladesh and drowning presents the greatest risk. For children ages 1-4, drowning accounts for 20 percent of childhood mortality and causes 46 child deaths every day.
Water hazards like ponds and rivers surround many homes, so behavioral solutions such as playpens and swimming education have limited effect in the region. The Unit’s work, therefore, will center on studying a new solution – wireless alarm systems. Specifically, Dr. Labrique and Dr. Hyder will test the Safety Turtle from Terrapin Communications to evaluate its acceptability and functionality in rural Bangladesh. The Safety Turtle can be worn around a child’s wrist or ankle and will sound an alarm when immersed in water.
For decades, leaders have struggled to identify effective strategies to prevent drowning in rural, resource-poor settings. The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit is excited to examine whether this technology can offer a new solution to this persistent public health problem.
The study will be performed at the JiVitA research site in Bangladesh and will be maintained by co-investigators from the Johns Hopkins Center for Human Nutrition. For more information about this project, or to inquire about other work in drowning, please contact the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit.