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Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit

A World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Injuries, Violence and Accident Prevention

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Keyword: drowning

Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) Director Dr. Abdulgafoor M. Bachani traveled to Peoria, Arizona to celebrate the Michael Phelps Foundation’s (MPF) 10th anniversary on Saturday, August 25, 2018.

The event, held at the Peoria pool, featured Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps who spoke on behalf of the foundation and discussed drowning prevention and promoting healthy lifestyles for children. After the speech, local children participants received swim instruction from program educators on how to float, as well as proper stroke techniques.  JH-IIRU was one of several organizations in attendance for the event, along with Boys & Girls Club of America and Pool Safely.

Recently, Dr. Bachani and JH-IIRU faculty worked to evaluate MPF’s “im program,” which aims to provide program participants with skills to become comfortable in and around swimming pools. Unit research found that the program made swim training accessible to approximately 2,500 families that would otherwise be unable to participate and nearly 7,000 children were able to participate in formal swim training sessions for the first time to explore and enjoy the water.

“As we, too, celebrate ten years of research at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, we’re so thrilled to be able to work with the Michael Phelps Foundation and applaud the team’s commitment to drowning prevention,” said Dr. Bachani. “We look forward to future partnership opportunities where we can join together to make a difference and save lives from this preventable risk factor.”

Outside of its work with MPF, JH-IIRU has initiated one of the largest implementation research studies on drowning on low- and middle-income countries with SOLID—Saving of children’s Lives from Drowning. Based in Bangladesh, the SOLID research project aims to reduce the shocking number of childhood deaths due to drownings.

This year marks a decade of innovation and research in global injury prevention and control for JH-IIRU and the Unit. Founded in 2008 by Dr. Adnan A. Hyder, JH-IIRU was established within the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of International Health to respond to the growing burden of injuries worldwide, where injuries cause more than five million deaths every year.Bachani and Phelps

JH-IIRU Director Dr. Bachani and Michael Phelps joined together on August 25 to celebrate the Michael Phelps Foundation's 10th anniversary.

Published research from the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit has been featured in a recently released special issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “A Million Person Household Survey: Understanding the Burden of Injuries in Bangladesh.”

Ninety percent of lives claimed by injuries occur in low- and middle-income countries. This special issue—edited by Professor Adnan Hyder and Dr. Olakunle Alonge, director and core faculty, respectively of JH-IIRU—aims to assess these injuries that include falls, drowning, burns, and road traffic injuries to inform efforts to reduce the burden they case on millions of people and families. The issue offers a unique collection of research on the epidemiology of fatal and non-fatal injuries in Bangladesh and was developed jointly with ICDDRB and CIPRB.

“This special issue brings together ten critically important articles,” said Dr. Hyder. “From road safety to drowning, injuries in low-income countries result in a devastating loss of life and mobility. We hope this data will be useful to researchers, students, practitioners, and decision makers.”

The issue features work by a number of JH-IIRU researchers and collaborators, including Drs. Priyanka Agrawal, Shirin Wadhwaniya, and David Bishai.

“Based on a survey of more than one million people, the research featured in the special issue was part of a large-scale, population-based child-drowning prevention project called ‘Saving of Lives from Drowning (SoLiD) in Bangladesh’,” said Dr. Alonge. The project, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, tested the large-scale effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of evidence-based interventions to reduce drowning-relate deaths for children less than five years of age.

To access the full special issue, please click here. To learn more about the SoLiD project, please click here.

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This special issue, focusing on Bangladeshi injuries, features research by a number of JH-IIRU faculty members and collaborators.

On May 2, 2017, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research (JH-IIRU) faculty, including Drs. Adnan Hyder, Qingfeng Li, and Kunle Alonge, attended a Bloomberg Philanthropies meeting on drowning prevention in New York City. The objectives of the meeting were to: highlight the global burden of drowning; review current evidence on drowning prevention interventions; identify priority drowning prevention gaps that need increased attention and discuss communications strategies to raise global awareness of drowning prevention.

At the meeting, Michael Bloomberg, World Health Organization (WHO) Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, announced a $25 million expansion of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global drowning prevention program.

The first phase of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ drowning program was launched in 2012 and focused on two countries – Bangladesh and the Philippines. The Saving of Lives from Drowning (SoLiD) in Bangladesh project aimed to reduce the shocking number of childhood deaths due to drowning in the South Asian country. This study allowed researchers from JH-IIRU to examine how lives could be saved using a package of interventions, including playpens and community daycares, for children under five years of age. The program found that community-based daycares are very effective in preventing drowning in children under five. On May 2, Bloomberg Philanthropies released a video that documents the work conducted by Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and local organizations to reduce drowning deaths in Bangladesh. JH-IIRU director, Dr. Adnan Hyder, is featured in the powerful video.

The second phase of the program will expand the use of daycares and support survival swimming in Vietnam. In addition, the program will continue to support community-based daycares in Bangladesh, and will pursue funding to incorporate daycare into national government programs. The program will also implement national drowning surveys in two countries in Sub Saharan Africa. Bloomberg Philanthropies will be working with several partners in this effort, including Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, for implementation and monitoring through 2022.

During the meeting, Drs. Adnan Hyder and Kunle Alonge presented current and new evidence on primary drowning prevention strategies, including daycares and barriers. In addition, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Health Organization released Preventing drowning: an implementation guide. The report provides a range of effective drowning prevention strategies and highlights ways to harness public awareness and engagement to strengthen drowning prevention interventions.

Read more about Bloomberg Philanthropies’ drowning prevention program here.

A community-based daycare in Bangladesh

Dr. Adnan Hyder, Dr. Kelly Henning and local collaborators visit a community-based daycare

On January 29-February 2, 2017, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) team members, including Adnan Hyder, director of JH-IIRU; Olakunle Alonge, assistant scientist; and Priyanka Agrawal, postdoctoral fellow, traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh as part of the Saving of Lives from Drowning (SoLiD) in Bangladesh project. 

SoLiD Presentation

JH-IIRU meets with CIPRB and icddr, b to discuss the SoLiD project

While in Dhaka, JH-IIRU participated in individual and joint meetings with the Centre for Injury Prevention & Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB) and the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b). The purpose of the meetings was to discuss special issue papers, review data analysis, and discuss existing data sets. The teams also brainstormed on long-term sustainability of the SoLiD interventions and exchanged ideas for future collaboration in injury prevention work in Bangladesh. 

SoLiD Collaborators

JH-IIRU director, Adnan Hyder, with representatives from CIPRB and icddr, b

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.

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