The study focuses on children less than 5 years old and explores the epidemiological profile and correlates of drowning as a challenge to child survival in Bangladesh. Two data sources from Bangladesh, a cohort of 8,070 children followed for 2 years in a rural area and a nation-wide survey conducted in 1996-97 have been used. In addition, a systematic review of the literature has been conducted spanning the past two decades for analysis of drowning in children. Seventy drowning deaths were reported in the cohort and 726 deaths were reported in the national survey. Verbal autopsy and semi-structured interviews were conducted on all deaths. Drowning accounted for 43% of deaths in the cohort and 20% of deaths in 1-4-year-old children in the national survey. Most drowning deaths were in 12-23 month old children from falling into ditches and ponds. Communities provided valuable insights on possible interventions to reduce deaths due to drowning. Drowning is a newly recognized challenge for Bangladesh. Considerable research and programmatic work is required to understand the nature of the problem and develop appropriate interventions. This paper calls on aid agencies to create opportunities for drowning research and action in their work plans for the country.
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