The campaign, themed Water safety for children this year, aims to call for the community’s joint effort in protecting children from water-related injury. Through the campaign, children are expected to be taught how to swim while authorities, families and schools will pay more attention to caring and supervising children and take more actions to ensure child safety, particularly during the summer.
In her opening remarks at the launching event, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Ha, Vietnam has enacted a number of legal documents and programmes related to child drowning prevention, including the 2016 Law on Children and the 2016 – 2020 programme for protecting children from accidents and injuries which set to reduce child fatalities from drowning by 6% by 2020 in comparison to 2015 and have 40% of elementary and middle school students aware of water safety rules.
Meanwhile in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre held a training course on injury and drowning prevention skills for more than 200 teachers and students at Truong Xuan 1 Elementary School in Thap Muoi district, on May 21 – 22.
The teachers were instructed how to provide proper first aid care for children after accidents, how to escape and help students escape in case of fire at school or multiple-story buildings, and how to use life jackets and fire extinguishers.
Students were equipped with some basic life-saving skills to prevent them from drowning, waterway accidents and other types of accident and given lessons to improve their awareness of road safety rules.
Drowning remains one of the leading causes of mortality among children and teenagers aged below 19 in Vietnam. About 2,000 Vietnamese children died annually due to drowning.
Though Vietnam boasts 3,260km of coastline and many rivers and lakes, swimming is only taught as an extra-curricular activity or at courses outside schools. A survey by the Child Care and Protection Department in 2017 found only 35% of children in the Mekong Delta and 10% in the Red River Delta can swim.
Last year, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and eight other ministries and state agencies signed an inter-sectoral plan for child drowning prevention while Vietnam’s child drowning prevention efforts have received support from the society as well as both local and international organisations.