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Vietnamese Government Reaffirms Political Commitment and Investments in Children Drowning Prevention

Despite renewed challenges from COVID-19, Vietnam has continued to make great strides in protecting children from injury. On July 19, the Prime Minister signed Decision 1248/QĐ-TTg, approving the 10-Year Action Plan on Child Injury Prevention 2021-2030. The action plan includes goals for both drowning and road injury prevention, with solutions that were informed by the Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s (GHAI) current drowning prevention program, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies—including survival swim and water safety education, which are highlighted for nationwide replication.

The 10-Year Action Plan goals include:

  • 10% reduction of child drowning deaths by 2025 and 20% by 2030
  • 60% of children ages 6-16 will learn water safety skills by 2025 and 70% by 2030
  • 50% of children ages 6-16 will be trained in survival swimming by 2025 and 60% by 2030
  • 90% of children use life jackets in water transportation in the vehicles where mandatory use of life jackets is available by 2025 and 95% by 2030

Lessons shared in World Health Organization’s regional workshop

Two days after Vietnam’s national policy victory, Doan Thu Huyen, GHAI’s Vietnam Country Director, participated in a virtual World Health Organization (WHO) workshop launching the first-ever drowning prevention status reports for WHO’s Western Pacific and South-East Asia Regions. The report draws on the self-reports of 30 countries across both regions, providing an overview of national and regional efforts to initiate or advance the development and implementation of evidence-based, people-centred programs and plans to prevent avoidable drowning deaths. As one of the panellists, Ms. Doan Thu Huyen shared lessons from GHAI’s drowning prevention work in Vietnam on the use of data for program planning and policy development to lay the foundation for sustainable funding.

Live talk show

On July 23, GHAI and our partners had the opportunity to share drowning prevention progress directly with the Vietnamese people through a live talk show broadcast online by the Vietnam Child Drowning Prevention Program, WHO Vietnam and the National Child Protection TV and online channel. The event was hosted in honor of the historic United Nations resolution on drowning prevention and the first-ever World Drowning Prevention Day by GHAI in partnership with the Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and WHO Vietnam. The show, “Anyone can drown, no one should,” raised awareness from policymakers and the public about the burden of child drowning and the importance of evidence-based interventions for this silent epidemic. The speakers included HE Nguyen Thi Ha (Vice Minister of MOLISA), Mr. Nguyen Nho Huy (Vice Director of the Department of Physical Education/MOET), Dr. Kidong Park (WHO Representatives in Vietnam), Ms. Doan Thu Huyen (GHAI Vietnam Country Director), Mr.Hoang Anh Tu (a well-known author and journalist on child protection) and Mr. Hoang Bach (a famous singer and songwriter). More than 21,000 people watched live.