Source: Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a commitment of US$ 10 million to save children from drowning. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Drowning Prevention Project will have a major focus on children aged 1-4 years in Bangladesh, where drowning accounts for 43% of all deaths. Every year in Bangladesh, 12,000 children drown - the equivalent of 32 deaths every day.

Drowning is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for just under 360,000 deaths per year according to WHO. Over half of these deaths occur in those under 25 years of age, and over 63,000 children under 5 years of age drown each year. The vast majority of fatalities due to drowning occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Studies show that most drowning deaths among children in low- and middle-income countries occur in small bodies of water, close to where children live, and especially during hours when adults are working and children often go unsupervised. To directly address these two major factors in preventable child drowning deaths - easy access to water and a lack of supervision - the Drowning Prevention Project is testing two high-potential interventions: locally manufactured playpens for children and community day-care centres that assure constant child supervision. The Project will monitor 80,000 children over a two-year period and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions, individually and combined, in preventing drowning deaths.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is partnering with WHO and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to identify scalable solutions to help prevent drowning deaths, and to build strong networks between public health officials and advocates who may participate in future efforts. Bloomberg Philanthropies is also supporting WHO to publish an evidence-based global report on drowning prevention. The WHO Global report on drowning prevention will be the first WHO report dedicated exclusively to drowning,and will be released in late 2014. It will  set out what is known about drowning and drowning prevention, and call for a substantial scaling-up of comprehensive efforts and resources targeted at prevention.