Challenges in Documenting Non-Fatal Drowning Disability in Bangladesh: A Community-Based Survey.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021, 18, (18)
Issue Date:
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Limited access to health care and the lack of robust data systems means non-fatal drownings are largely missed in low-and middle-income countries. We report morbidity among individuals who experienced non-fatal drowning in the Barishal Division, Bangladesh. A representative household survey was conducted in the Barishal Division in southern Bangladesh between September 2016 and February 2017, covering a population of 386,016. The burden of non-fatal drowning was assessed using the WHODAS 2.0 disability assessment tool, a generic assessment instrument for health and disability. A total of 5164 non-fatal drowning events occurred in the one year preceding the survey. Among these 18% were multiple events. From these, 4235 people were administered the WHODAS 2.0 questionnaire. Non-fatal drowning incidence rates were highest in children aged 1-4 years at 5810 per 100,000 population, and among males. Non-fatal drowning was associated with lower socio-economic status and larger family sizes. Few respondents (6.5%; 95% CI: 4.5-8.4%) reported some level of disability (WHODAS-12 score > 8). Incidence of non-fatal drowning is high in the population, however limited impact on morbidity was found. There is a need to develop tools and methodologies for reliable and comparable data for non-fatal drowning, especially to capture post-event disability in children.
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