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2A.001 Fatal drowning in WHO region of the america’s – a leading killer
  1. Stephen Beerman
  1. 1University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, Dept of Family Practice, Nanaimo, Canada
  2. 2Canadian Drowning Prevention Coalition, Fredericton, Canada


Background Drowning is a serious, preventable and neglected public health issue resulting an estimated 295,210 death per year, worldwide. An estimated 1 Billion people live in the WHO Region of the Americas/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in 53 countries and territories. There is an estimated 23,096 drowning deaths per year based on GBD 2017 data.

The PAHO works with countries to improve and protect health. PAHO engages in technical cooperation with member countries. The PAHO does not have a program for Drowning Prevention.

Methods Using PAHO website Leading Causes of Death data, to focus on the ranking of drowning as a leading causes of death. The last 5 years of available data in all age groups, were reviewed

Results The PAHO website includes all age group fatal drowning data for 45/53 countries and territories. Drowning is a top 5 cause of all deaths in 42/45 countries and territories, in at least one age group. Drowning is the lead cause of death in 15/45 nations, in at least one age group. The greatest burden of fatal drowning is children and youth. Fatal drowning rates are greatest in LMICs.

Conclusions Fatal Drowning is a significant public health issue in the WHO Region of the Americas/Pan American Health Organization. Drowning Prevention strategies should become priority public health interventions in all countries and territories, with a focus on children and youth.

Learning The WHO Region of the Americas/PAHO should develop a program for drowning prevention focused on proven interventions for high burden countries.

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