Equity in child safety, building on health in all policies approach

by The George Institute for Global Health

(Academia)

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Program that addresses the burden of child injury and impact of climate change on risks of drowning in the Asia-Pacific.

Project implemented: January 2016

Project goal

To reduce the burden of injury in resource poor settings across the Asia-Pacific region

delivering on

why is this project important?

The program focuses on improving health outcomes through world class Australian research and health innovation.

Key steps to make it happen

1Reducing drowning burden

Project Bhasa is a ground breaking initiative to reduce drowning in Bangladesh, using multi-sector and evidence-led strategy.

2Community owned programs

Partnering with communities through village committees, and interactive participatory theatre.

3Engaging policy makers

Creating communication pathways & steering committees connecting stakeholders to plan, deliver & upscale effective programs.

4Building capacity

Community members have been equipped with first response, water safety skills and research capacity.

impact to date

Household survey documenting burden (n=~400,000), provision of day care for 10,000 children and water survival skills for 30,000 children
Survey conducted to inform high risk population, which is male children aged 1-4 years. The drowning rates in the study area have been reported to be 3 times higher than national average. Informed by the survey data, 400 day care centre’s for children aged 1-5 have been implemented, with nearly 10, 000 children enrolled in the program. The program not only provides safe environment for the children but also meets the community need through early childhood education. Swimsafe program targeted at children aged 6-10 years with 12 survival skills lessons is being implemented with 30 000 children in the graduation program for survival skills. For all children aged 10 years and above, information, education and communication activities are being implemented through schools.

(i) Contextual data highlights the impact of the drowning on the community, and the role of the upstream factors such as education, poverty, and access to clean water for drowning. The findings from India, contribute to the priority areas of Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction. (ii) Work in Bangladesh has led to hosting Think Tanks for policy makers and key practitioners on topics such as role of community health workers, access to clean safe water, and early childhood education. (iii) There is a growing recognition in Vietnam that policy has not translated to action for drowning reduction. Our work has contributed to multiple workshops and future investments by World Health organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Royal Lifeboat Institute, UK. (iv) We have partnered on “end drowning” website (End Drowning), a resource platform for research and implementation of drowning reduction programme in low and middle income countries.

Globally, mortality rates have decreased across all age groups over the past five decades, with the largest improvements occurring among children younger than 5 years. In low- middle-income countries implementation of national programs for reducing under five mortality associated with The Millennium Development Goals saw improvements in peri-natal conditions, management of malnutrition and infections. However, recent data reveal that while gains have been made among infectious conditions, injury-related mortality among this age group, driven primarily by drowning, remains largely unchanged in LMIC populations. The George Institute for Global Health leads a program of work on child injury that is addressing the burden of injury in Bangladesh, India and Vietnam, through an equity lens. This program is focused on engaging stakeholders from community to Governments at multiple levels, and large scale implementation prevention programs addressing the major causes of unintentional injury in children.

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