International Experts Gather For Drowning Conference

Researchers, academics, and members of the international life saving community returned this week from a significant conference on drowning prevention in Penang, Malaysia where Surf Life Saving’s efforts in preventative strategies were highly regarded.

The biennale World Conference on Drowning Prevention hosted 450 delegates from 55 countries, who presented on the latest trends and strategies aimed at curbing what is a tragic global issue.

For the first time the World Health Organisation (WHO) co-sponsored the conference. Frightening global estimates are that over 300,000 people drown every year, with the highest rate being boys aged 0-14.

Developing nations represent a significant proportion of these deaths and these numbers underscore the need for the life saving community to gather and share potential solutions to this epidemic.

The need to gather reliable data on non-fatal drownings was also highlighted, to measure both the economic impact and assess the risk profiles of specific coastal locations. Data gleaned from this research could help life saving organisations more effectively position their assets to improve rescue rates.

“It is truly inspirational to see the work being completed around the world to reduce the global drowning burden, which accounts for almost two thirds of the deaths from malnutrition and well over half that from malaria,” said Adam Weir, a member of the International Lifesaving Society Rescue Commission and Chair of the Rescue Operations Committee.

“While these major public health issues receive the attention they deserve, more needs to be done to address the global drowning problem. More than 90% of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Through working alongside our counterparts in the International Life Saving Federation, SLSNSW continues to assist developing nations reduce drowning,” Mr Weir concluded.

The next World Conference on Drowning Prevention will take place in Vancouver, Canada in 2017.

The WHO Global report on "Drowning: Preventing a Leading Killer" is available to download HERE

Fri 13 Nov 2015