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Launch of the first ever world report on child injury prevention

© UNICEF VIET NAM/2008/Doan Bao Chau
Official handover of the World Report by Dr. Ala Din Alwan (Asst. DG-WHO) and Mr. Jesper Morch (UNICEF Viet nam Representative) to the Minster of Health, Dr. Nguyen Quoc Trieu and Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs, Mr. Dam Huu Dac.

HA NOI, Viet Nam, 10 December 2008 – The first ever World Report on Child Injury Prevention was launched today in Hanoi by the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization and the Government of Viet Nam. Developed by more than 180 experts from 56 countries around the world, the report provides the first comprehensive global assessment of childhood unintentional injuries and prescribes measures to prevent them. 

Participating in the launching ceremony were Mr. Truong Vinh Trong, Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, Dr. Nguyen Quoc Trieu, Viet Nam Health Minister, Dr. Ala Din Alwan, Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization, Mr. Jesper Morch, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam and many international and Vietnamese policy makers, experts and donors who are working on the issues related to child health and development.

“Injury is the leading cause of death for children globally. Child injury prevention and control need the close cooperation between Governments of countries around the world and the International organizations. The Government of Viet Nam highly appreciates the efforts made by the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization in developing and launch this World Report on Child Injury Prevention”, said Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong at the launching ceremony.

At the start of the event, the participants paid silent tribute to all children around the world who have been suffering from injury during a photo presentation on child injury by Dr. Kayode Oyegbite of UNICEF.

© UNICEF VIET NAM/2008/Doan Ba
ha Trung Kiet (13) shares his story how he lost several of his friends during a tragic boat accident in Viet Nam.

“I’ve lost many friends in that boat accident. Their lives could have been saved if they were wearing life-vests or life-buoys were made available in the boat, said Kha Trung Kiet, a 16-year old boy, who shared his story at the ceremony how he witnessed a tragic boat accident in his village in Nghe An province of Viet Nam two years ago. The accident killed 19 children aged from 12 to 16 when they were trying to cross the river to school by boat.

Unintentional injuries are among the top three causes of death among children aged 5–19 years. In addition to the deaths, tens of millions of children require hospital care for nonfatal injuries every year – many are left with lifelong disabilities.

“For the past decades UNICEF, WHO and partners have focused their child mortality reduction efforts mainly on the under-fives as this is the age where most deaths occur. The time has come to review and revise this focus”, said Jesper Morch, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam.

“Unless we broaden our focus and look at causes of mortality and morbidity among all children as defined by the Convention on the Right of the Child, the development community stand to loose the investment made on younger children, if they later die of injuries as injuries account for between 50 to 60 per cent of all deaths among children between 5 and 17 years of age”, he continued.

“The launch of this report is very important for the prevention of child injury which has help to further realize children’s right to live in a safe and healthy environment”, said Dr. Nguyen Quoc Trieu, Viet Nam Health’s Minister. 

In addition to the World report on child injury prevention, UNICEF and WHO have produced a child-friendly version, which aims to inform children, aged 7 - 11 years, about various types of injuries and how these may be prevented. “When developing interventions that will protect children and prevent child injuries, we also need to consider the role that children can play themselves” said Jesper Morch. Have Fun, Be Safe uses illustrations, quizzes and accessible language in which children will find useful tips and life-saving advice about how to protect themselves from accidental injuries.

The ceremony was followed by a workshop where experts from different parts of the world shared the successful approaches and strategies for child injury prevention and discussed the next steps on the global agenda for child injury prevention.



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