News & Events

July 14 2020 - Royal Life Saving Society Releases Commonwealth Drowning Report

Inaugural Commonwealth report identifies drowning as a serious health issue and highlights proactive prevention measures

February 2020 saw the completion of the Commonwealth Fatal Drowning Fact Sheet, the first of its kind, to provide a detailed analysis on the issue of fatal drowning across the Commonwealth, with additional information on both strategic and practical, achievable preventative measures.

Published in July, the report, led by Dr Aminur Rahman, the Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) Drowning Prevention Director, based with the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh (CIPRB), the RLSS Member in Bangladesh, gives an evidence-based estimate of fatal drownings in Commonwealth nations. This data provides a better understanding of the mortality burden in Commonwealth countries, ultimately leading to more effective prevention actions.

The most recent figures estimate Commonwealth drowning fatalities number 110,594, accounting for over a third of all fatal drownings globally. Of all the countries in the Commonwealth, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan bear the heaviest burden of tragedies, accounting for over three quarters of the estimated Commonwealth drowning fatality total.

RLSS exists to promote water safety across the Commonwealth through education, training and qualifications, and believes that accidental drowning is a devastating loss of life, made harder to bear by it being a preventable death.

These measures will align with RLSS’s position statement on the ‘Connection of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the Global Drowning Prevention Effort’, that sees allied partners develop and maintain drowning prevention work, alongside the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘Global Report on Drowning’, and the relevant SDGs.

RLSS Commonwealth President, HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO, added his voice to the call for action for governments to use the data in the Commonwealth Fatal Drowning Fact Sheet, in collaboration with key agencies and lifesaving organisations, to start the process that ultimately could see accidental drowning a thing of the past.