Introduction Injury kills about 300 people each day and 55 000 people suffer from non-fatally injury every day in Bangladesh. Drowning, suicide and road traffic injuries are the topmost causes of injury mortality. Each day 53 persons die due to drowning and Barisal is upmost drowning prone division in Bangladesh.
Aim To engage local community in a comprehensive drowning reduction project in the most drowning prone division.
Method A community participatory risk mapping identified drowning high-risk areas based on geographical locations, availability and proximity of water bodies and drowning incidences. Prior to implement the project, community people were sensitized on program through meeting. Afterwards they were involved and empowered with the project by forming ‘Village Injury Prevention Committee’. The committee, in total 171, comprised of locally elected public representatives, community and religious leaders, school teachers, socially accepted individuals and two women members.
Result Village Injury Prevention Committee recruited 112 community swimming instructors, 400 community caregivers, 400 community assistant caregivers and selected 65 ponds at community level for swimming teaching, finalized venue for 400 community crèches. Each committee participated in monthly project meeting in intervention areas and provided regular feedbacks; solved problems related to intervention, mitigated social conflicts that can affect the project activities at local level and helped to aware local community on drowning prevention. Due to communities` active engagement from the beginning of the project, communities were aware of the activities and had owned it. As the members of the committee are well accepted in the community, they were also working as advocate of drowning prevention.
Conclusion and policy implications Community engagement is very vigorous and useful technic for implementing drowning prevention project in rural communities.
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