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Systematic review of drowning in India: assessment of burden and risk
  1. Caroline Lukaszyk1,
  2. Rebecca Q Ivers1,2,3,
  3. Jagnoor Jagnoor1,2
  1. 1The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  3. 3Southgate Institute, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jagnoor Jagnoor, The Goerge Institute of Global Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2042, Australia; jjagnoor{at}


Aim To examine the burden and risk factors for fatal and non-fatal drowning in India.

Methods Relevant literature was identified through a systematic search of 19 electronic databases and 19 national and global, institutional, organisational and government sources of injury data. Search terms used pertained to drowning, injury, trauma, morbidity and mortality in India.

Results A total of 16 research articles and five data sources were included in the review. Three national data sources provided counts of drowning deaths, reporting a range of 1348–62 569 drowning deaths per year. A further three national data sources provided information on drowning-related morbidity; however, each source presented different outcome measures making comparison difficult. Ten research studies investigated risk factors associated with drowning in India. Key risk factors reported were male gender, young age (0–5 years) and individuals residing in the North-Eastern part of the country who have high exposure to water sources within community settings.

Conclusion Drowning-related morbidity and mortality have a significant impact on India, with risk factors identified for this setting similar to those within other low-income and middle-income countries. Regional data which look beyond routinely collected data are required to accurately investigate the burden and impact of drowning, to inform targeted, context-specific approaches for drowning reduction initiatives

  • Drowning
  • India
  • burden
  • risk factors
  • low-income and middle-income countries

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  • Contributors JJ and RQI conceived the study and its design. CL led the identification of relevant literature, and drafted the manuscript with input and review from both JJ and RQI. All authors were involved in the analysis and interpretation of findings, and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.