In the Philippines, drowning is the fifth leading cause of deaths among children ages 1–4 years, and second among children ages 5 to 9 years and among 10–14 years.
A drowning prevention project was started in 2015, with two major objectives: (1) advance multisectoral action and policy development; and (2) implement and document community-based drowning prevention strategies.
Through a widely consultative process with key partners, a national multisector action plan on drowning prevention 2016–2026 was developed. To implement the plan, DOH is establishing a Violence and Injury Prevention Alliance (VIPA) and organize a subcommittee on drowning prevention.
A community-based drowning prevention initiative was also implemented in Davao del Norte Province in Southern Philippines. The province had one the highest drowning death rates in the country. Two municipalities were selected as community project sites.
The following community-based actions were done: (1) Community Engagement; (2) Community Drowning Survey; (3) Local Policy Development; (4) Barriers: foot bridges, 900 door barriers, covered/fenced dug wells; (5) Development of Municipal and village-level Barangay Drowning Prevention Action Plans; (6) Community awareness campaigns; (7) development of flipcharts for educational use; (8) Basic Life Support (BLS) Training, Safe Swim, and Child Minding Center; (9) Budget allocation on Drowning Prevention by the Provincial Health Board; and (10) Organization of regional Violence and Injury Prevention Alliance (VIPA) and Multi-Sectoral Action Plan on Drowning Prevention.
With support of DOH and WHO, local governments are sustaining the interventions. The Department of Education has adopted the flipcharts for educational use in local primary and secondary schools. An end-of-project community drowning survey is being planned for 2018. Documentation and tools developed will continue to be shared with national DOH for national update or adoption. Implementation of the Philippine Multisector Action Plan is now being arranged for implementation through leadership of DOH.