GHAI supports the governments of Bangladesh and Vietnam as they implement proven drowning prevention interventions, and advocates to ensure the sustainability of the interventions once external donor financing comes to an end.
Drowning is the leading cause of death for children under 15 in Vietnam and for children under five in Bangladesh. Drowning is largely preventable. GHAI supports capacity building with local and international partners to ensure the funding and implementation of programs aimed at reducing the number of child deaths and injuries related to drowning. GHAI is also working with local partners to engage government stakeholders about the urgent need for a national program on drowning prevention.
In Vietnam, GHAI supports the implementation of an evidence-based drowning prevention program focused on survival swimming and water safety skills for children between 6-15 years of age. Thanks to advocacy efforts on the ground, survival swim and water safety skills training are now integrated into key national plans. A direct outcome of the partnership in Vietnam is steady increase in local financing and prioritization of drowning prevention efforts yielding high levels of awareness and reduced drowning deaths in high burden communities.
In Bangladesh, the drowning prevention program focuses on supervised day care centers, which have been shown to be cost-effective interventions that lead to enhanced child development, improved community status for women and a reduction in drowning deaths.
In Bangladesh, the program currently involves 58,326 children attending 2,595 community day cares in seven districts. The program began in 2012 and has reduced drowning deaths by 88% among children under four years of age.
In Vietnam, Phase I of the program was carried out in eight high drowning burden provinces and showed high impact. Nearly 9,000 children were trained in survival swimming with a 90% success rate. Program guidelines on survival swim and water safety skills were adopted as national guidelines. Phase II of the program covers 12 provinces with expanded partnership with the Ministry of Education and Training and community based NGOs. Word of the program’s success spread to non-program provinces as well, with an additional 38 provinces requesting access to best practices and lessons from the Drowning Prevention program for adoption.
These programs save lives, prevent heartbreak for families and ensure children grow up strong and healthy to thrive throughout their lives.
Click here for more information about the new UN General Assembly resolution on drowning prevention and additional drowning prevention information from the World Health Organization.