Geneva: Drowning has emerged as the leading cause of death in China with 164 people die every day, mostly children aged between 5-14 years, in such incidents, a WHO report said on Thursday.
China has accounted for more than 80% of all drowning deaths in the Western Pacific Region. Almost 60,000 people drowned in China in 2012.
Drowning has also emerged as the leading cause of death in a number of low and middle income countries, especially among children aged 5-14 years, the report added.
This figure however does not include drowning deaths related to suicide, homicide, natural disasters and flooding or water transportation disasters.
The report highlights that these additional causes can increase instances of drowning by a further 50%.
“China has made remarkable progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goal 4 target of a two-third reduction in under-five child mortality, well ahead of schedule,” said Bernhard Schwartlander, WHO Representative in China.
“In doing so, the impact of previously hidden causes of death in children, such as drowning has become far more apparent,” Schwartlander said, adding that these deaths can be prevented, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Interventions such as barriers around bodies of water, providing safe places for play, teaching children basic swimming skills, and rescue and resuscitation training were all successful strategies to prevent drowning, the report said.
Its suggestions also include the enforcement of safety regulations for water transportation, flood resilience efforts and comprehensive water safety policies at the national level.