Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related deaths among children. In Bangladesh, drowning accounts for nearly 43% of all deaths among children between 1–4 years. With the support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit in collaboration with the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh and International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh implemented the ‘Saving of Lives from Drowning’ (2012 – 2015) study in seven rural sub-districts of Bangladesh. The overall goal of the SoLiD study was to assess effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of playpens and enrollment in crèche or both for preventing drowning among children aged 9–36 months. Nearly, 1.2 million people were covered in the SoLiD baseline injury survey and surveillance, and about 70 000 children received SoLiD interventions. Nearly 50 000 playpens were distributed and more than 3000 creches were established.
While it is important to implement research on a large scale to generate evidence on effectiveness, this can present several implementation challenges. Some of the challenges experienced included: 1) collection of multiple streams of data – baseline survey, surveillance and compliance, 2) community mobilization and engagement, 3) manufacturing playpens locally that met international standards, 4) retention of trained human resources, 5) implementing complex intervention such as crèche, and 5) frequent strikes and political instability.
Lessons from this study can help in planning and implementing large-scale community-based injury prevention interventions in LMICs.
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