Preventing child drowning in the Philippines: the need to address the determinants of health

Guevarra, Jonathan P., Peden, Amy E., Orbillo, Lita L., Uy, Maria Rosario Sylvia Z., Madrilejos, Joseph John R., Go, John Juliard L., Martinez, Rammell Eric C., Cavinta, Lolita L., and Franklin, Richard C. (2021) Preventing child drowning in the Philippines: the need to address the determinants of health. Children, 8 (1). 29.

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Drowning is a public health issue in the Philippines, with children at significantly increased risk. Determinants of health (DoH) such as education, socio-economic status, ethnicity, and urbanization are factors that impact drowning risk. As drowning is a multisectoral issue, a national drowning prevention plan can drive collaboration with relevant stakeholders. This study reports trends in unintentional child (0–14 years) drowning in the Philippines (incidence, rates, and trends over time for fatal and non-fatal (years lived with a disability (YLDs) and disability adjusted life years (DALYs) from 2008–2017 and conducts an analysis of the Philippines’ Multisector Action Plan (MSAP) on Drowning Prevention. From 2008–2017, 27,928 (95%UI [Uncertainty Interval]: 22,794–33,828) children aged 0–14 years died from drowning (52.7% aged 5–14 years old). Rates of drowning have declined among both age groups, with greater reductions seen among 0–4 year olds (y = −0.3368x + 13.035; R2 = 0.9588). The MSAP has 12 child drowning-specific activities and 20 activities were identified where DoH will need to be considered during development and implementation. The MSAP activities, and work done to prevent drowning more generally, must consider DoH such as education, urbanization, water and sanitation health, and safe water transportation. A national drowning surveillance system and investment in research in the Philippines are recommended.

Item ID: 70653
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2227-9067
Keywords: Child, Drowning, Global burden of disease, Mortality, Multisector, Policy, Prevention, Safety, Stakeholder, Water
Copyright Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2022 23:38
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420604 Injury prevention @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200408 Injury prevention and control @ 100%
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