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WHO Report: Drowning is the Main Killer of Children in China

By | Nov 18, 2014 04:53 PM EST

Drowning is the leading cause of death for Children in China and is among the top 10 causes of death for children and young people around the globe.(Photo : WHO report highlights devastating global impact of drowning. Photo: WHO/A. Kari)

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children in China and is among the top 10 causes of death for children and young people around the world, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The news comes as the first WHO Global report that's dedicated exclusively to drowning, which aims to raise global awareness and create and implement strategic prevention plans to decrease drowning deaths.

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Drowning reportedly claims the lives of 372,000 people worldwide including 12,000 children aged 5 to 14 in China every year. That translates to nearly 42 drowning deaths every hour, and nearly 33 children aged 5 to 14 drowning in China every single day.

"This death toll is almost two thirds that of malnutrition and well over half that of malaria - but unlike these public health challenges, there are no broad prevention efforts that target drowning," according to the report.

Furthermore, more than 90 percent of all drowning deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, and over half are among people under 25 years old. The highest rates are in the South-East Asia region including countries such as Bangladesh, China, Philippines and Thailand with nearly 204,000 drowning deaths. 

The report also mentions some things that could potentially decrease the number of drowning deaths. WHO recommends safer daycare facilities for children, as well as teaching children how to swim. In addition, WHO suggests that putting barriers next to water to prevent children from falling in could be helpful.

"Action must be taken by national and local governments to put in place the simple preventive measures articulated by WHO," said Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO.

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