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Continued Advocacy Efforts for the Sustainability of Vietnam’s Child Drowning Prevention Program

Drowning is Vietnam’s leading cause of death in children under 15 years of age. Since 2018, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) has been implementing a child drowning prevention program, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, to support the Vietnam government to test, scale and sustain evidence-based interventions focusing on survival swimming and water safety education to reduce child drowning deaths in Vietnam.

On March 25, a strategic planning workshop brought together representatives from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), the World Health Organization (WHO) the Ministry of Labor – War and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Vietnam Sport Administration, the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Public Security INGOs and representatives for 12 provinces and mass media to review the current progress of the child drowning prevention and identify the priorities and key deliverables for 2022. The workshop was chaired by Madama Nguyen Thi Ha, the Vice Minister of MOLISA; Ms. Kelly Larson, Program Director of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Dr. Socorro Escalante, WHO representative and Huyen Doan, GHAI Vietnam Country Director.

Over the last 3 years, GHAI has been supporting MOLISA to train survival swimming lessons for over 14,635 children aged 6-15 and water safety education for 34,850 children in 12 provinces where are among the highest child drowning burden.

The Vice Minister acknowledged that the drowning prevention program has saved the lives of thousands of children and highlighted its achievements and the value of survival swim and water safety education, which were outlined as key child drowning interventions in the 10 Year National Program on Child Injury Prevention (CIP) 2021-2030. Madam Nguyen Thi Ha directed all of ministries and localities to implement the survival swim interventions to achieve the goal of reducing 10% of child drowning by 2025 and 20% till 2030. The Department of Child Affairs as focal agency will work with the international organizations, including Bloomberg, GHAI and WHO to foster their coordination and management of the program to transfer the techniques, secure the program sustainability & duplicate the program value and standards nationwide.

This program is an example of successful partnerships at the national to local level. One of its strengths is the commitment and investment of agencies and other stakeholders at the local level. MOLISA committed to have 15,400 children learn survival swimming and 17,940 children learn water safety skills in 2022. The program will be expanded to 22 provinces, covering 47% national burden of child drowning.

For more information, please watch our Vietnam program implementation video.