Provinces Committed to Reducing High Child Drowning Rates
Ha Noi, 16 July 2010 – Leaders of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), representatives from other relevant ministries, mass organizations and leaders from 15 provinces signed an agreement today to express their commitment to reducing the number of child drowning cases and implementing drowning prevention regulations in the 15 provinces with the highest rates of child drowning deaths.
Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for children and adolescents in Viet Nam. In 2008 alone, over 3,500 children and adolescents aged between 0-19 died of drowning. This means that, on average, ten children die of drowning every day in Viet Nam. This makes Viet Nam one of the countries in the region with the highest fatal drowning rate.
In an effort to cut down the number of child drowning, the Government of Viet Nam, with support from UNICEF, will run a communication campaign from now until the end of the year in the 15 provinces with the highest rate of child drowning. The campaign aims to raise community awareness about the issue and calls for urgent action from families, the local community and local leaders to address the issue. With the signing today, the 15 local leaders committed to developing effective preventive interventions, and implementing and enforcing safety regulations in order to make living environment safe for children.
“The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) will cooperate with other ministries and mass organizations to strengthen advocacy and communication activities, to provide guidance and monitor the implementation of child drowning prevention activities in the 15 provinces with the highest rate of child drowning” said Dam Huu Dac. Vice Minister of MOLISA. “It’s important that living environment is safe for all children and adolescent", he added.
Evidence from other countries has shown that creating a safe environment for children by simple and low-cost actions like building fences, put on warning signs, covering water jars/wells and supervising children can help to save them from drowning. International experience has also demonstrated that legislative development and enforcement is one of the critical paths to reducing the number of deaths related to drowning.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Jean Dupraz, acting UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam, emphasized the importance of leadership at local level as well as the participation of all sectors in reducing the number of children who die from drowning. “We need your continued commitment to changing this alarming situation and to working together so that we can prevent children from dying of drowning,” he said to the participants at the workshop.
Over the last couple of years UNICEF has continued to play its part by supporting the Government of Viet Nam to carry out a number of key interventions to prevent child drowning. These include public awareness raising, modifying living environment to make it safe for children, legislative development and enforcement, and life skills development including swimming and first aid training. “We will continue to work closely with the Government in its efforts to protect children from injury in general and from drowning in particular,” said Mr. Dupraz.
For further information, please contact: