WHO Calls for Action to Prevent Tragic Deaths through Drownings

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The World Health Organisation has called on governments and communities to take more action in working together to prevent tragic deaths through drowning.

“In many cases, we know what works to prevent drowning. We’ve developed tools and guidance to help governments implement solutions – and if we do more together, we really can save thousands of lives,” said said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and WHO Global Ambassador for Non Communicable Diseases and Injuries.

For World Drowning Day 2022 commemorated on the 25th of July, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a call for people around the world to “do one thing” to prevent drowning.

As one of the leading causes of death globally for children and young people ages 1–24, and the third leading cause of injury-related deaths overall, drowning tragically claims more than 236,000 lives each year.

More than 90% of drowning deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with children under the age of 5 being at highest risk, according to the WHO.

“These deaths are frequently linked to daily, routine activities, such as bathing, collecting water for domestic use, travelling over water on boats or ferries, and fishing,” states the WHO release.

For Samoa, fishing accidents have been frequent during extreme unexpected weather conditions. Samoa has also had tragic swimming accidents where multiple members of one family lose their lives.

In March this year, Samoa lost three men to two separate fishing incidents in Savaii. Two lost their lives at Samalaeulu and one at Aopo. in the same week.

In March 2021 a 22 year old from Satapuala drowned when he fell into a deep drop off the reef while fishing with two other youth.

In another incident from September 2021 – a 32 year old fisherman from Salei’a in Savaii was found dead at sea and a subsequent coroner’s report confirmed the cause of death as drowning.

In February 2021 a 26 year old man was found dead feared drowned in the Tuanai river.

In December 2020, a tragic Christmas day incident claimed the life of a 20-year-old boy from Malie, when he did not emerge from making the jump into the popular plunge pool at Togitogiga Falls.

Visit SOS at Togafuafua or contact from overseas: (685) 21623.

In June 2020 three members of one family were pulled out to the ocean by strong currents while fishing at Neiafu, in the south west corner of Savaii. Police were only able to find one body while rescue efforts could not find the bodies of a father and son.

This week the WHO Director Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says most of the hundreds of thousands of deaths each year are preventable through “evidence-based, low-cost solutions.”

“The WHO Director made a call to action, “for each of us to do our part to prevent and put a stop, to drowning”.

“Drowning is a global public health challenge, and at Bloomberg Philanthropies, we’re focused on our part to prevent and put a stop, to drowning”.

“Drowning is a global public health challenge, and at Bloomberg Philanthropies, we’re focused on implementing solutions to prevent it,” adds the WHO Ambassador against NCDs and Inury.

“Today, we’re joining our partners around the world in recognising World Drowning Prevention Day and taking action.”