/ 14 December 2018

Keeping Mumulanga Province Swimming afloat

Teaching children to swim helps to prevent drowning accidents
Teaching children to swim helps to prevent drowning accidents, a leading cause of childhood deaths

Mpumalanga Province Swimming is a provincial swimming federation and the custodian of all water-related sports in Mpumalanga. It is responsible for regulations, membership registration and hosting aquatic competitions, and assists in developing swimmers, coaches, clubs and officials.

The organisation provides much-needed skills development for the community to ensure of the safety of swimmers. To support this goal, the National Lotteries Commission provided Mpumalanga Province Swimming with a grant of R853 072.

The funds are earmarked to provide Mpumalanga Province Swimming with the ability to maintain andupgrade existing infrastructure, and caters for essential expansions. The work that the organisation does is critical; it plays a pivotal role in helping to minimise tragic drowning accidents.

According to the World Health Organisation, drowning is the third-leading cause of unintentional death worldwide. About 360 000 people drown each year globally and it is one of the top five causes of death for children aged between one and 14 years. Men and children are more at risk of drowning, as are those who come from lower socioeconomic sectors of society.

Research undertaken by experts at the University of Cape Town, Cape Town Peninsula University of Technology and Lifesaving South Africa found that 70% of child drownings happen around the home in buckets, bathtubs and pools. Research published in the South African Medical Journal by CJ Saunders, D Sewduth and N Naidoo, found that drowning mortality is consistently higher in children younger than 15 years of age than in adults.

The work undertaken by Mpumalanga Province Swimming serves to overcome this challenge as much as possible within this community. Their focus is on ensuring that skills are passed on to children and people of all ages and abilities, so that they can swim safely and with confidence. The school places a lot of emphasis on teaching children to swim. This is incredibly important in light of the research and the higher drowning rates in the summer months, festive season and at pools at homes.