Last month, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) team members traveled to Matlab, Bangladesh, for the Saving of Lives from Drowning (SoLiD) project, an implementation study established to test the effectiveness of interventions to prevent and reduce the burden of childhood drowning in Bangladesh.

JH-IIRU is working with two in-country collaborators, the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research (CIPRB) and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), to test two interventions: community daycare centers (sometimes referred to as "crèches" or "Anchals") and playpens. Attendance in Anchals during the period when drowning injury is most likely to occur reduces the risk of drowning by both supervising the child and removing the child from the hazard. Similarly, playpens, which are being locally manufactured, restrict child mobility thus creating a barrier between the child and the hazard. They are also an aid to adult supervision, which in turn minimizes exposure to the risk of drowning. The interventions are being implemented along with family education and community awareness on drowning prevention.

Program manager and JH-IIRU assistant scientist Olakunle Alonge met with CIPRB and icddr,b to discuss progress on the rollout of the two interventions for the project, as well as the status of surveillance and compliance assessment data collection. The group was also there to review any challenges in both the field operation and data collection. JH-IIRU research associate, Siran He, was also on hand to participate in both household visits (for playpen observation and data collection monitoring) and visits to established Anchals. She also observed distribution of playpens and training for the Anchal Mas (on-site caregivers).

Playpen distribution demonstration.      

Dr. Alonge reports that the Anchal rollout is on track and CIPRB is set to enroll all eligible children and begin distribution of the wooden playpen on schedule; however, there were production delays with the plastic playpens. At icddr,b sites, surveillance data collection is going according to plan with collectors using Samsung tablets with a special SoLiD application that allows for efficient data collection and the instant uploading of information. The team was happy to report that collection is on track for all data streams, this includes surveillance data as well as compliance assessment data collection, which had previously been delayed.

worker with tablet
Surveillance worker with tablet.

creche song
An Anchal Ma leads children in song.

Dr. He reported that approximately 160 playpens were available for pickup at a venue in Matlab during the visit.  While there, mothers and/or caregivers were given a demonstration on how to assemble. In some cases, children were able to be put in playpens to test.  She also observed training for approximately 60 Anchal Mas in Matlab South site during the visit.

 boy in playpen
A young boy testing plastic playpen       

The goal of the project is to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions for up to 80,000 children, 1-4 years of age over a two-year period. So far, about 40,000 children have been recruited into the study.

For more information on the project, click here.