Epidemiology of adulthood drowning deaths in Bangladesh: Findings from a nationwide health and injury survey

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Background: Annual global death due to drowning accounts for 372,000 lives, 90% of which occur in low and middle income countries. Life in Bangladesh exposes adults and children to may water bodies for daily household needs, and as a result drowning is common. In Bangladesh, due to lack of systemic data collection, drowning among adults is unknown; most research is focused on childhood drowning. The aim of the present study was to explore the epidemiology of adulthood drowning deaths in Bangladesh. Methodology: A nationwide cross-sectional survey was conducted from January to December in 2003 among 171,366 rural and urban households, with a sample of 819,429 individuals to determine the epidemiology of adulthood drowning in Bangladesh.   Results:   Annual fatal drowning incidence among adults was 5.85/100,000 individuals. Of these, 71.4% were male and 28.6% were female (RR 2.39). In total, 90% of the fatalities were from rural areas. Rural populations were also found to have a 8.58 times higher risk of drowning than those in urban areas. About 95% of drowning occurred in natural water bodies. About 61.6% of the deaths occurred at the scene followed by 33.5% at the home. Of the drowning fatalities, 67% took place in water bodies within 100 meters of the household. Among the drowning fatalities 78.4% occurred in daylight between 7.00 and 18.00. Over 97% of the victims were from poor socio economic conditions with a monthly income tk. 6,000 ($94) or less. Only 25.5% of incidences were reported to the police station. Conclusions: Every year a significant number of adults die due to drowning in Bangladesh.  Populations living in rural areas, especially men, were the main victims of drowning. This survey finding might help policy makers and scientists to understand the drowning scenario among adults in Bangladesh.

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Hossain, M. J., Biswas, A., Mashreky, S. R., Rahman, F., & Rahman, A. (2017). Epidemiology of adulthood drowning deaths in Bangladesh: Findings from a nationwide health and injury survey. F1000Research, 6. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.10980.1

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