Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Saving Waters Program, Aims to Reduce Drowning in Uganda

Project Uganda 2014, the multi-agency collaborative effort to educate Ugandans on the importance of lifeguards, water safety, and drowning prevention, wraps up today. The long term effects from Project Uganda 2014 are unknown, but it is clear that it is possible to have an impact in a country where the drowning is the leading cause of accidental death, and the country’s drowning rate is among the highest in the world.

SAI is not new to partnering with agencies to strive towards the goal of reducing the drowning rate in Uganda. SAI has partnered with The Dive Spot to implement the Saving Waters program in Uganda. In 2014, J and Lorraine Wilson, of The Dive Spot in Abilene, TX, traveled to Uganda to provide swim lessons and education to almost 500 children and adults over the course of four days. The swim lessons focused on providing the children and adults with skills to lower their risk of drowning, as well as helping the children and adults become more acclimated with the water.  

Watch the video below from J and Lorraine Wilson about the Saving Waters program and the excitement over learning to swim in Uganda. 

Saving Waters from Lifeguards Without Borders on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

SAI Drowning Prevention Collaboration in Uganda

Starfish Aquatics Institute (SAI) announced today that it is partnering in an international drowning prevention collaboration in Uganda with the International Surf Lifesaving Association, Lifeguards Without Borders and Nile Swimmers. Representatives from each organization will be joining SwimSafe Uganda this month for a water safety and lifesaving training program in Kampala, Uganda. SAI is an international training, certification and aquatic risk management organization. The collaborative effort, known as Project Uganda 2014, will educate Ugandans on the importance of lifeguards, water safety and drowning prevention. Two national media conferences have been scheduled in conjunction with the events.

“Evidence shows that lifesaving programs greatly reduce the drowning rates in resource deficit areas,” said Justin Sempsrott, M.D., Medical Director for SAI and the Executive Director of Lifeguards Without Borders. “Together, we have the opportunity to have a tremendous impact on this country. 95% of the world’s drowning deaths occur in low and middle income countries. Data is hard to come by in these areas and it is believed that Africa and Southeast Asia bear the largest global burden of drowning.” 

Along with SwimSafe Uganda, SAI, ISLA, Lifeguards Without Borders and Nile Swimmers will unite with the other two national lifesaving agencies in Uganda, the Uganda Lifesaving Federation and the Royal Lifesaving Federation, to coordinate their drowning prevention efforts. In addition to the water safety and lifesaving program, the organizations will meet to recommend legislation on water safety, swim instruction and lifesaving with representatives from the following organizations:

 Ministry of Education and Sports

 Kampala Capital City Authority

 Ministry of Youth and Children

 Uganda Police

 National Council of Sports

 Uganda Swimming Federation

“In addition to our meetings with the government, I will lecture on water safety while in Uganda,” Dr. Sempsrott noted. “I will also review the lifesaving course methodology so that best practices are incorporated for use by Ugandans." SwimSafe Uganda hosted one lifesaving clinic prior to this collaborative effort. “Close to one hundred swimming coaches, lifeguards, and pool attendants participated in the lifesaving swimming clinic last year,” Moses Kalanzi, the coordinator of SwimSafe Uganda said. “I believe these clinics will go a long way in helping us understand and develop skills in lifesaving in the country,” he stressed.  In the past, SwimSafe partnered with the Ugandan National Council on Sports, Police/Fire Prevention/Rescue Organization and the Ministries of Education, Sports, and Youth/Children to initiate the event.

FollowProject Uganda as it unfolds: 

Use #Collaboration on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for live updates of the project.