Key facts

  • Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths.
  • There are an estimated 360 000 annual drowning deaths worldwide.
  • Global estimates may significantly underestimate the actual public health problem related to drowning.
  • Children, males and individuals with increased access to water are most at risk of drowning.

Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid; outcomes are classified as death, morbidity and no morbidity.

Scope of the problem

In 2015, an estimated 360 000 people died from drowning, making drowning a major public health problem worldwide. In 2015, injuries accounted for over 9% of total global mortality. Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths.

The global burden and death from drowning is found in all economies and regions, however:

  • low- and middle-income countries account for 91% of unintentional drowning deaths;
  • over half of the world's drowning occurs in the WHO Western Pacific Region and WHO South East Asia Region;
  • drowning death rates are highest in the WHO African Region, and are 10-13 times higher than those seen in the United Kingdom or Germany respectively.

Despite limited data, several studies reveal information on the cost impact of drowning. In the United States of America, 45% of drowning deaths are among the most economically active segment of the population. Coastal drowning in the United States alone accounts for US$ 273 million each year in direct and indirect costs. In Australia and Canada, the total annual cost of drowning injury is US$ 85.5 million and US$ 173 million respectively.

There is a wide range of uncertainty around the estimate of global drowning deaths. Official data categorization methods for drowning exclude intentional drowning deaths (suicide or homicide) and drowning deaths caused by flood disasters and water transport incidents.

Data from high-income countries suggest these categorization methods result in significant underrepresentation of the full drowning toll by up to 50% in some high-income countries. Non-fatal drowning statistics in many countries are not readily available or are unreliable.

There are many ways to die. Some are more shocking than others, like plane crashes, bomb blasts, and shootings. They get a lot of press, initiate discussions on TV, and fade from public consciousness, coming into focus only when the next tragedy occurs.

Some deaths are less so: traffic accidents, drowning, burns, falls, and poisoning. They don’t get a lot of press, and don’t register in public consciousness. Unintentional and accidental, these deaths are mostly personal in their corrosive effects of grief and often commonplace in their occurrence. The survivors often carry disabilities that can stay with them their entire lives Drowning and lack of first aid is an open-ended health hazard across the globe, especially Asia. As Sharma says, 43 people drown every hour, every day across the world. In Bangladesh, 40 per cent of child deaths below the age of five are caused by drowning. Twenty-three per cent of all drowning deaths occur in India.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released its first ever “Global Report on Drowning” on November 18. It defines drowning as “the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid”. Terming drowning a global burden, the report states that “children aged under five years are disproportionately at risk and males twice as likely to drown as females. Over half of casualties are aged under 25 years”.

We plan to do einterviews with MBBS doctors to understand 4 things
1) Tests or questions you ask in first few meetings
2) What it means in medical terms
3) What it means in non medical terms
4) What should the patient or care takers do

We might interview Aurvedic doctors, homeopathic doctors, Yoga teachers on this health issue

Video links

First Aid: Drowning

First Aid for Drowning

How to Save an Active Drowning Victim?

How to save someone who is drowning

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