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World Drowning Prevention Day 2023

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World Drowning Prevention Day 2023: Drowning has caused over 2.5 million deaths in the last decade. The overwhelming majority of these deaths (90%) happen in low- and middle-income countries. Globally, the highest drowning rates occur among children aged 1–4 years, followed by children aged 5–9 years.

The human, social and economic toll of these losses is intolerably high, and entirely preventable.

In 2023, the 76th World Health Assembly adopted its first ever resolution on drowning prevention. The resolution accepts the invitation of the United Nations General Assembly for WHO to coordinate actions within the UN system on drowning prevention and facilitate the observance of World Drowning Prevention Day on 25 July each year.

To mark this year’s World Drowning Prevention Day, WHO will continue to focus on raising awareness on drowning as a public health issue, reminding people that anyone can drown, but no one should.

We are also raising awareness on the six evidence-based, low-cost drowning prevention interventions that countries and organizations can use to drastically reduce the risk of drowning. These include: 

1. Key global messages and background to these: Several key global messages are listed, along with some background to understand the various points made. Remember that coherent messaging is one of the most powerful things that can be done to advance an issue within public and political agendas. The drowning prevention field is best served by all its proponents coalescing around the same set of messages.

 2. Adapting messages to your context: This is a guidance document developed at the global level. Most organizations using this guidance will be focused on influencing their local stakeholders. This section provides guidance around adapting messaging to make it have an impact in your local setting – look to the examples provided to find inspiration on how to be effective in reaching your local audiences.

3. Planning activities around WDPD: This section gives guidance and ideas on planning activities for World Drowning Prevention Day. As with the section on adapting messages to your context, keep in mind that this is global guidance and will need to be adapted to make most sense for your local context. Irrespective of how you adapt your activities to your local setting; – whether your “local setting” means working within a national governmental authority, or within a region of a country, – remember powerful progress can be made to advance drowning prevention, with coherent messaging. So, however you decide to plan your activities at the local level, make sure you are drawing upon the same set of key global messages to make your point.

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