The theme of this meeting was “Epidemiology: A Key to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals. MDG #4 is to reduce Child (under 5) mortality by 50%.
In many countries of South East Asia, drowning is the highest priority, in the 1-4 age for prevention. The issue of drowning reduction has caught the interest of policy makers and public health officials of international, national and regional public health leaders.
This meeting was organized by the International Epidemiology Association and was hosted by the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh. Other sponsors, partners and collaborating organizations involved in this meeting included WHO, UNICEF, TASC, Save the Children and others.
Drowning is a priority public health in most of the 11 South East Asia nations. The drowning of children from age 1-5 is the most common cause of child death in this region. The appetite to address this preventable mortality by drowning is high. One of the focusing agent is the UN Millennium Development Goals. UN MDG #4 is to reduce childhood mortality by 2015. Governments and NGO’s are seeking strategies to address this pressing need. Reducing parental mortality, enhancing breastfeeding and reducing drowning are the regional focus strategies to achieve the stated goal.
The Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB) is a leading research and social change organization. They are supported by UNICEF, TASC and Government. They have broad support for their accident surveillance research and community based education program. The CIPRB is a focused on several injury target areas. Drowning reduction is one of the target issues.
The 9th South East Asia International Epidemiology Association Regional Scientific Meeting was attended by more than 400 professional and student participants at the Centre for Mother and Child Health in Dhaka. Dr. Steve Beerman, ILS Medical Chair, provided a Keynote Address titled, “Drowning in Low and Middle Income Country’s (LMIC’s) ” A public Health Priority. The Keynote Address provided an opportunity to have the South East Asia understand the issue of drowning. The meeting provided input to ILS as to how the global organization with the sole focus on drowning might help the collaborative network in this region.
Dr. Beerman traveled to a CIPRB/TASC/ UNICEF demonstration project in the northern village of Raijonj, Bangladesh. This region is abundant with natural water and drowning hazards. Effective, culturally appropriate injury surveillance and strategic interventions are being researched and provided.
The program is epidemiologically structured to provide evidence for decision making, scaling up within Bangladesh, South East Asia and other developing nations. The CIPRB and its partners TASC and UNICEF are global leaders in providing research and programs to reduce drowning. We are very fortunate to have this skilled group reducing drowning in Bangladesh and surrounding nations.
The meeting and visit provided further ILS linkage to the CIPRB, WHO South East Asia Region, UNICEF and other national and regional NGO’s. The commitment to collaboration was impressive. We remain hopeful that ILS and our member federations will continue to learn about the needs of this region. We will continue to support our member federations and non-ILS organizations in South East Asia to continue to reduce drowning.
Dr. Beerman would like to thank the CIPRB for their invitation and support to have an ILS representative at this meeting.
Dr. Steve Beerman
International Life Saving Federation