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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May, 2005, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Bangladesh child accidents shock
By Waliur Rahman
BBC News, Dhaka

Children in Bangladesh
Accidents cause 38% of child deaths, the survey says
About three children die every hour in Bangladesh from serious injuries and accidents such as drowning the UN children's agency, Unicef, says.

Unicef's report, published in Dhaka on Monday, said more than 30,000 children were killed this way each year.

Accidents accounted for 38% of child deaths, with drowning the leading cause. Most of the drowning victims were under three years of age.

The nation's health minister said he was shocked and vowed to take action.

Rising numbers

Unicef based its report on a survey of nearly 200,000 households, the largest accident survey conducted in the developing world.

The Bangladesh Health and Injury Survey found accidents were the leading killer of children aged between one and 17.

This is the time for action, and we must respond to the issue
Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain,
health minister

It said drowning of young children mostly took place in rural areas during the day when mothers were busy with housework or other chores.

Unicef also identified road accidents, burns, falls, animal bites, electrocution and suffocation as other causes of serious injury and death.

The report said the number of accidents involving children was rising.

Morten Giersing, Unicef representative in Bangladesh, said: "Injury is an integral part of child survival. This survey clearly shows that injury is a leading killer of children over one year of age."

Experts said only diarrhoea killed more children in Bangladesh, but that that number was falling with sustained efforts from the government and international aid agencies.

Health Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, who attended the report's publication, said the statistics came to him as a shock because his ministry had no idea so many children were killed or injured in accidents each year.

"It is a great concern that children are not only dying due to injuries, but they are also being disabled, creating burdens that our society must face," he said.

He said his ministry would now act quickly to reverse the situation.

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