Drive to Curtail Drowning Rolled Out in Kalangala

2874 Views Kalangala, Uganda

In short
The drive is a brainchild of Swim Safe Uganda, a not for profit organisation that works to reduce cases of drowning across its east Africa. The organisation estimates that up to 5000 cases of drowning are reported every year in Uganda, mostly within Lake Victoria.

A new drive to sensitize fishermen on the dangers of sailing without life jackets has been rolled out in Ssese Islands, Kalangala district.

The drive is a brainchild of Swim Safe Uganda, a not for profit organisation that works to reduce cases of drowning across east Africa. The organisation estimates that up to 5000 cases of drowning are reported every year in Uganda, mostly within the Lake Victoria basin.

Swim Safe Uganda Executive Director Moses Kalanzi says they have identified leaders from the 84 Islands that make up Kalangala district to undergo training on swimming and rescue operations. Kalangala, an island district is one of those most affected by drowning,

According to Kalanzi, 100 percent of fishermen travel on boats without life jackets which makes their survival in case of accident impossible. He says they have deployed special international water rescue trainers to tip fishermen on survival skills in case of boat accidents.
 
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Trainers have been drawn from New Zealand, the United States of America, and South Africa among others.

Denny McArthur, one of the trainers from New Zealand warns that the safety of people travelling across Lake Victoria is wanting. He recounts his shock upon seeing school children using a canoe without any life jacket to get to school in Kalangala.
 
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Marine Police says that most fishermen are reluctant to invest in life jackets. But authorities in Kalangala attribute poor usage of life jackets to their cost. An ordinary life jacket costs between 50,000 to 100,000 Shillings.

In June, six members of the same family drowned when a boat they were traveling in capsized near Kamese Landing Site in Buwuvu Island. According to the police report, none of the victims was wearing a life jacket.

The World Health Organization -WHO estimates that up to 372,000 people worldwide die from drowning annually, an average of 40 people every hour of the day. 90 percent of the deaths occur in middle and low-income countries like Uganda, making drowning one of the top neglected killers.

 

About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.