The Inbox

8 Filipinos die of drowning every day — DOH

dangerdrowning

By Ariel C. Sebellino, VERA Files

After a near drowning experience in Puerto Galera in his early teenage life, Alvin Alcober made sure he learned how to swim.

Alcober is now very careful about choosing places to swim, checking if they have facilities to secure swimmers.

In the Philippines, young boys like Alcober are common victims of drowning --- the second leading cause of death among Filipino children aged 14 years and below.

"About eight persons die everyday due to drowning and that more were reported to be victims of near drowning (10 cases per day)," a Philippine report presented at the World Conference on Drowning Prevention (WCDP) 2011 said.

Children were found to be more prone to or at risk of drowning, according to Lita Orbillo of the Family Health Office, National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Department of Health (DOH) who made the oral presentation.

Drowning has been ranked as the fourth leading cause of death from injury in the Philippines by a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) survey. The top five causes were road traffic accidents (20%), gun shots (17%), stabbings (14%), drowning (12%), and electrocution and falls (4% each).

The alarming number of maritime disasters in the country has contributed to drowning statistics since the Philippines is an archipelagic country consisting of more than 7,000 islands. Ten of the 22 incidents from 1980 to 2003 were identified as major maritime disasters in the Philippines which resulted to at least 3543 casualties, or an average of 10.5% of deaths from drowning for all ages.

"Moreover, the country is often visited by typhoons (average of 20-25 annually) causing floods, flooded areas, flash floods and turbulent seas which undeniably cost the lives of Filipinos," the Philippine report to the WCDP 2011 said.

The report, titled "Development of the Philippines National Framework of Action on Drowning Prevention 2011-2015," was prepared by Orbillo, Dr. Juanita Basilio Dr. Manuel Calonge.

Drowning incidence in the Philippines, though said to be lowest in Asia, has prompted the DOH "to develop the draft National Framework of Action on Drowning Prevention as the first major step in the fulfillment of its commitment to eliminate drowning as a crucial concern of the country."

The draft national framework, which is still under policy review, aims to reduce the risk of drowning and near-drowning among high risk groups, more particularly children, as a result of aquatic activities such as fishing, recreational swimming, boating — and natural calamities like floods, tsunami and flashfloods.

The settings may also include open seas, coasts, rivers, lakes, dams, public and private swimming pools. Lingayen in Pangasinan and Infanta in Quezon are considered drown-prone areas.

"The development of the framework for drowning prevention is a major step undertaken by the Philippines Department of Health in response to the growing concern on drowning problem," the Philippine report said. "With strategies outlined in this policy directive, it is hoped that drowning incidents in the country will be lessened."

The health department defines drowning as the process resulting in primary respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in liquid medium that may or may not result in death.

To avoid drowning, the DOH recommended close child supervision, wearing of flotation devices, participation in water safety awareness activities and training programs on first aid, basic life support and basic survival swimming for both child and adult.

Data collected by the Department's National Epidemiology Center from the UNICEF's Philippine National Injury Survey (PNIS) in 2003 showed there were 2,822 cases of deaths caused by drowning injuries. More than one-third (35.6%) were children below 14 years old.

A later study by the World Report on Child Injury Prevention of 2008 showed that 175,000 children and youth less than 20 years of age around the world died of drowning in 2004. Ninety-eight percent of deaths occurred in low-income and middle-income countries.

The PNIS data also found that  drowning rates were highest among boys and girls less than 5 years old compared to other age groups and higher among females than males for all age groups.

It said that drowning rates were higher among males under 5 years and among those under 15 years compared to females of the same ages. This gender difference is largest for male toddlers whose relative risk for drowning death is 1.5 times higher than female toddlers.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options