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Water safety techniques to be included in schools’ curriculum

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 July 2021, 19:55 by Denis Chabrol

Water safety techniques may soon form part of the  schools’ curriculum as part of efforts to prevent drowning. Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said on Sunday.

“In particular, efforts will be made to provide teachers with information to make water safety education a part of the curriculum in Guyana,” he said in a message to mark the first ever United Nations-designated World Drowning Prevention Day that was observed on Sunday- July 25.

He says the Ministries of Health, Education and Youth and Sport will next month begin discussions about how to get such techniques to be part of the National Drowning Prevention Plan and the school’s curriculum. Dr. Anthony noted that drowning is a preventable death that could be reduced.

“In many of the places where many of the people go and do water sports that they don’t have trained lifeguards so we have to change that culture,” he later told Demerara Waves Online News.

Dr. Anthony says the Chief Medical Officer has been instructed to prepare the National Drowning Prevention Plan for Guyana.

Globally, the highest rate of drowning deaths occurs among children 1 to 4 years old, followed by children 5 to 9 years old. The international data shows that more than 236,000 persons die  annually because of drowning. This means that more than 650 people die each day from drowning, one every two minutes. Officials say that drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death and accounts for 7% of all injury-related deaths in the world.

The Ministry of Health, he says, also plans to ensure safe places away from water and equip crèches for preschool children with capable childcare teaching swimming, water safety and safe rescue skills.

Among the drowning prevention initiatives that the Health Ministry,  in partnership with community groups and non-governmental organisation will pursue include installing barriers controlling access to water, providing safe places away from water such as crèches for pre-school children with capable childcare; teaching swimming, water safety and safe rescue skills; training bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation; setting and enforcing safe boating, shipping and ferry regulations and improving flood risk management.