UNICEF/WHO: Shakib Al Hasan helps parents protect their children from drowning
As monsoon rains fill ponds and rivers, and 40 children drown every day, Shakib’s video tutorial on how to save children goes viral
DHAKA, 25 July 2023 – As daily monsoon rains fill ponds and rivers across Bangladesh, a country in which a shocking 40 children drown every day, national cricket icon Shakib Al Hasan is helping parents protect their children from drowning.
In a video that has gone viral with over 22 million views on social media, UNICEF National Ambassador Shakib Al Hasan gives practical advice to parents on how to keep children safe from drowning.
“If parents and communities are more aware about the risks children face near water, and teach them swimming, so many untimely deaths can be avoided each year. I ask that everyone joins me in raising awareness about this issue so that we can ensure the right to survival of every child in Bangladesh,” said Shakib Al Hassan.
Shakib Al Hasan’s call to parents and communities for caution comes on World Drowning Prevention Day and against the stark reality that drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children under five years in Bangladesh, claiming the life of 14,000 children every year.
In the video tutorial, Shakib speaks about simple steps that parents can take to protect their children from drowning: keeping infants under supervision, fencing in open bodies of water, and covering large water containers. Shakib also advises parents to teach their children to swim once they turn 6 years old.
“It is a tragedy that so many children lose their life in easily preventable drowning accidents. All of us have a responsibility to act as parents and as members of our communities,” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.
"In a world where the risk of drowning can loom over anyone, it becomes crucial for each and every one of us to take up the responsibility of water safety. Let us join hands, empower each other, and strive towards a world where every life is safeguarded from this preventable tragedy," said Dr. Bardan Jung Rana, WHO Representative to Bangladesh.
The WHO ‘Global Report on Drowning: Preventing a Leading Killer’ shows that drowning mortality rates in the Region are still much higher than the global average, for both men and women and in every age group. In the South-East Asia Region, drowning has been found as the second highest cause of death for children aged 10–14 years, third for children aged 5–9 years, sixth for children aged 15–24 years, and seventh for children under 5 years.
In Bangladesh, lack of awareness and poor swimming skills place children at high risk of drowning, especially in rural areas with more open water bodies. Low-cost solutions such as simple guidelines for families and communities, safety and swimming lessons for children, and childcare facilities for preschool children can go a long way to prevent child drowning deaths.
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UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/bangladesh/