Approximately half a million people die of drowning every year around the globe. More than 97 percent of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. In Matlab, Bangladesh, for example, drowning is the most common cause of death for children aged 1 to 4. To help address this problem, a team of researchers led in part by Dr. Adnan Hyder, director of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, and David Bishai, senior technical advisor for the Unit, examined verbal autopsy data in Matlab, Bangladesh.
The recently released study, entitled "Childhood drowning and traditional rescue measures: case study from Matlab, Bangladesh," analyzed 10 years of data around drowning deaths in Matlab, including household characteristics, age, gender, time, and also rescue methods attempted. The study is one of the first to publish data on traditional rescue practices performed on drowning children in rural Bangladesh. The findings suggest that interventions should be designed using local information so that we can most effectively reduce childhood drowning. Additionally, community-based resuscitation techniques and emergency medical systems are needed to improve chances for recovery.