In Vietnam, we were given a huge amount of cutting edge data about the impact of drowning in developing countries, and also the effectiveness of the various interventions.
95% of all drownings globally happen in developing countries.
This conference in Germany had over 330 papers presented either orally or as posters.
Based on a rapid survey of the article titles 37 actually focussed on the drowning problem in developing countries – so just over 10% of the papers focussed on 95% of the issue.
Many focussed on technical and medical aspects of lifeguarding and rescue services. Considering that the vast majority of people who drown in the developing world do so in places that are unsupervised and unlifeguarded.
Despite lots of talk about drowning prevention, it seems that very few people are actually doing anything (research or intervention) that focus on the heart of the global drowning problem.
Out of those 37 presentations, 10 of them were by the team from Nile Swimmers.
Out of the remaining 27 presentations, another 7 of them were either by some of the guys from CIPRB, or about them.
We made a lot of presentations, and each time the contrast between us and the speaker before was stark. I particularly remember talking about Risk Management in Sudan directly after a great presentation about a state of the art cloud-based iPad App for Risk Assessing beaches in Australia. Also talking about disaster response in developing countries, after hearing a presentation from Japan and their early warning system for tsunamis. It really does bring it into stark contrast.
We received some very interesting feedback from a number of influential individuals…
You speak a lot of sense young man, here is my card, let me know how I can help.
I enjoyed your presentation, I disagreed with some of what you had said. Then I looked down at myself, wearing a suit and tie, and remembered that I used to be a lot like you.
All in all, it was great to meet people again. The world is constantly shrinking with modern technology, but there is absolutely no virtual substitution for sitting down face-to-face and having a drink with somebody. We have definitely made some useful contacts, and are looking forward to driving forward our mission to prevent death from drowning.
The fact that Nile Swimmers was mentioned in several presentations including one of the keynote speeches (by Clive Holland of RLSS Commonwealth) as an example of good practice was rewarding – and confirms to us that we are doing the right thing, and people are starting to sit up and take notice.