International Life Saving Federation (ILS) President Mr Graham Ford is pleased to announce that the World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2019 is to be co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). WCDP2019 is to be held in Durban, South Africa from 8-10 October 2019. This will be the third time that the global drowning prevention community will meet since the publication by WHO of the Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer in November 2014.
Preventing drowning: An implementation guide, was launched in 2017 and is a technical package designed to assist with implementation of drowning prevention interventions. The WHO estimates that over 320,000 people died from drowning worldwide in their most recent estimates. Drowning is among the ten leading causes of death for children and young people in every region. Globally, over half of all drowning deaths are among those aged under 25 years.
“More than 90% of drowning occurs in low- and middle-income countries, with nations in the African, South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions having the highest rates. Children 1-4 years of age are particularly vulnerable to drowning. This loss of life is largely preventable through actions described in the implementation guide to prevent drowning.” said Dr David Meddings of the WHO Department for Management of NCDs, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.
WCDP2019 will bring together the world’s foremost experts, researchers and policy-makers in drowning prevention, rescue, lifesaving and water safety for exchange, debate and review of the latest progress on preventing drowning. The conference will energize the field, and contribute to further development and advancements to reduce death and injury in all aquatic environments worldwide.
“The co-sponsorship of this conference by WHO marks a significant step in the joint efforts by ILS and WHO to raise global, regional and national awareness of drowning and its prevention,” said Justin Scarr, ILS Drowning Prevention Commission Chair.
It is expected that key themes arising from the Global report on drowning will be explored during plenary sessions, symposia and parallel session papers delivered by over 200 presenters from 50 nations. Symposia investigating the use of non-fatal drowning, child drowning prevention measures, identifying and responding to drowning data gaps, and rescue protocols will all feature at the event.
Lifesaving South Africa, the local host of WCDP2019 notes the increased incidences of flooding disasters in recent months, globally, in the Southern African region as well as in the Province of KwaZulu Natal (host province for the conference) and has requested the conference programme organisers to prioritize sessions on disaster management and risk mitigation related to flooding in a keynote session as well as in workshops.
“As has been the case in other countries, Lifesaving South Africa wants to use the WCDP2019 platform to expand on its strategic partnerships with South African national disaster management offices as well as developing strategic plans with at least two provincial bodies thus far to ensure that we can mitigate risks and manage disaster situations better. It is an honour indeed to welcome the international drowning prevention community to South Africa, and leverage the energy of the event to increase drowning prevention actions across the globe,” noted Mr Dhaya Sewduth, President LifeSaving South Africa.
The World Conference on Drowning Prevention is the International Life Saving Federation’s flagship educational event. This biennial conference brings together the world’s foremost experts, research, systems and information on drowning prevention, rescue, lifesaving and water safety. The exchange, debate and development are designed to find ways to reduce death and injury in all aquatic environments worldwide.
WCDP 2019 held in Durban, South Africa is an opportunity to report on the progress made on the 10 actions to prevent drowning, as outlined in the 2014 World Health Organization’s Global Report on Drowning. This is much more than a conference; it is a convergence of people and projects aimed directly at addressing a highly preventable public health challenge. Join us in Durban to play your part in this collaborative effort to save lives.