Community perception of childhood drowning and its prevention measures in rural Bangladesh: A qualitative study


Aminur Rahman, Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, House 226, Lake Road 15, New DOHS, Mohakhali, Dhaka 1206, Bangladesh. Email:


Objectives: To gain an in-depth understanding of people's perception of causes and their concepts of prevention of childhood drowning in rural Bangladesh.

Design: A qualitative study and focus group discussion (FGD) was adopted.

Setting: A rural community in Bangladesh.

Participants: FGDs were conducted with mothers of children aged under 5 years, adolescent male and female students, fathers and local leaders. One FGD was conducted for each group. Out of 53 participants 25 were women.

Results: The respondents considered that children of 5–10 years are at risk of drowning. Ponds, ditches and canals were frequently mentioned locations of drowning. Most of the drownings were reported to occur around noon. For prevention of childhood drowning the participants suggested that the children should be constantly supervised, unwanted ditches should be filled in, ponds should be fenced and drowning prevention awareness in the community be increased by community leaders. They suggested that government should organise campaigns for preventing childhood drowning, promoting swimming instruction activities for children and motivating communities to fence ponds.

Conclusions: People interviewed in general know the causes of childhood drowning and its preventive measures, but they do not put their knowledge into preventative actions as they fail to recognise this as a major child survival issue and they are never reached with definite actions points to change the behaviours.