Vol. 5 Num 337 Tue. May 10, 2005  

Over 13000 children become disable by injuries a year
ICMH survey reveals

More than 30, 000 children died from various injuries in the country in 2002, revealed the findings of a survey yesterday.

Bangladesh Health and Injury Survey (BHIS) was conducted by the Institute of Child and Mother Health (ICMH) in collaboration with the Unicef, Bangladesh Government and The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC).

The survey showed that over 13, 000 children are afflicted with permanent disabilities by injuries every year.

Injuries also account for 38 percent of all classifiable deaths among the children aged between one and seventeen years, as per the survey conducted in 1.71 lakh households with 8.20 lakh population in twelve districts including Dhaka.

"The survey clearly shows that injury is a leading killer of children over one year of age," said Unicef Representative Morten Giersing.

Terming the BHIS as the largest ever community-based child mortality survey in the developing world, Giersing said its findings constitute an alarm in the backdrop of Bangladesh's significant success in reducing child mortality rate, which is lower than that of any neighbouring countries including India.

According to BHIS findings, the dominant injuries are caused by drowning, road accidents, animal bites, suffocation, burn, electrocution, fall, cut and suicide.

In 2002, nearly one million children were injured which means a total of 2, 600 child injuries occurred a day.

Drowning has been identified as the single leading cause that takes away lives of 18, 000 children aged between one to seventeen years every year and 46 every day.

While 3, 500 children are killed in road accidents, another 2, 700 die from animal bites every year, the survey found.

A total of 3, 400 children become disabled every year in burn injury alone.

The findings will be useful in addressing child morbidity and mortality issues not only in Bangladesh but also in the neighbouring countries and other parts of the world, said WHO Representative Dr Duangvadee Sungkhobol.

It is a matter of great concern that injuries not only cause deaths of children, but also make them disable, said Health Minister Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.

Child safety and care should begin at home to reduce the child mortality as a consequence of injuries, said Health Secretary AFM Sarwar Kamal.

Launched by the Unicef, the report was presented by Dr AKM Fazlur Rahman of ICMH at a city hotel.

State Minister for Health Mizanur Rahman Sinha and President of TASC Ambassador Pete Peterson also spoke on the occasion.

Director General of Health Dr Md Abdur Rahman Khan presided over the function.

Health Minister Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, centre, Unicef Representative Morten Giersing, right, and the Alliance for Safe Children President Ambassador Pete Peterson, left, launch "The Bangladesh Health & Injury Survey-Report on Children" at the Sheraton Hotel in the city yesterday. PHOTO: STAR