Ayesha Farin was saved from drowning

Thousands of children in Bangladesh die each year due to drowning, the second leading cause of death for children under 5 years in Bangladesh

By UNICEF
Seventeen-month-old Ayesha Farin was brought back to life after she nearly drowned.
UNICEF Bangladesh/2022/Satu
25 July 2022

On 6 July 2022, 17-month-old child Ayesha Farin was playing with her cousin near a pond in her grandparents’ house in Barguna district. Her mother, Sharmin, was keeping watch over the children. But just as Sharmin had looked away for just a moment to greet some relatives, Farin slipped into the pond. Her head went under water and only her feet could be seen. Farin was drowning. Seeing this sent chills down Sharmin’s spine. She dived into the pond immediately and pulled Farin out of the water. After multiple chest compressions, Farin let out a cry and was brought back to life.

“I almost lost my daughter. I let Farin out of sight for a minute and she almost drowned. Luckily, I noticed at the right moment and was able to save her”, says Sharmin.

Drowning caused over 2.5 million deaths globally in the past decade. Every year, Bangladesh loses more than 14,000 children to drowning, the second leading cause of death for children under 5 years. Most drowning incidents occur in nearby waterbodies, disproportionately affecting children and adolescents in rural areas.

Ayesha Farin with her mother beside a pond near their house.
UNICEF Bangladesh/2022/Satu
Ayesha Farin with her mother beside a pond near their house.

Drowning is not inevitable, it is preventable

Despite being the second leading cause of under-five deaths, drowning is preventable. Teaching children swimming skills, installing barriers to waterbodies and creating safe spaces such as day cares for pre-school children, and increasing awareness at the household, community and national levels have proven effective in saving thousands of lives.

 

Children need swimming skills, parents need awareness

“We must teach our children how to swim. If they know how to swim, they can save themselves from such preventable mishaps,” says Sharmin, who was able to save her daughter, Farin, because she knew how to swim.

Farin with her grandmother, Johura Begum, who supervises the children as they play to keep them safe from drowning.
UNICEF Bangladesh/2022/Satu
Farin with her grandmother, Johura Begum, who supervises the children as they play to keep them safe from drowning.

In 2021, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 25 as World Drowning Prevention Day in recognition of drowning as a leading cause of deaths around the world, underscoring that every drowning death is preventable.

UNICEF has been working with the Government and non-government partners to raise awareness on drowning prevention, equip children and adolescents with swimming skills, and has also implemented a child injury prevention research programme in Bangladesh titled “Prevention of Child Injury through Social-intervention and Education (PRECISE)”.