|Drowning is the leading cause of death for those under the age of 19, killing more than 3,000 children and adolescents annually
“Traffic accidents and drowning are the leading causes of injuries. Drowning is the leading cause of death for those under the age of 19, killing more than 3,000 children and adolescents annually,” he said.
Besides traffic accidents and drowning, falls, self-inflicted violence, burns and poisoning are the other top causes.
Pham Viet Cuong from Hanoi University of Public Health said the number of suicides among those between 15 and 19 has increased, urging the necessity for psychological health care and lifestyle education for adolescents, especially during puberty.
Vu Thị Kim Hoa, deputy head of the Children’s Department under Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said one of the targets in the national programme on children’s injury prevention is to reduce the number of deaths by drowning.
To realise the target, the ministry has organised classes to teach children how to swim and equip them with safety skills.
Anuradha Khanai, director of Global Health Advocacy Incubator in Southeast Asia, said the percentage of children’s death caused by drowning in Vietnam was 10 times higher than that of other developed countries.
Since 2018, the organisation has helped Vietnam implement a series of children’s drowning prevention programmes.
More than 6,100 children have been equipped with swimming skills and some 550 swimming teachers have been trained in 21 districts of eight provinces which have the highest percentage of child drownings.
The classes teach children swimming skills to survive, not just normal swimming skills, Khanai said.
By the end of this year, more than 16,000 children aged between six and 15 are expected to be trained with water safety skills. The project will be implemented in other localities, aiming to reduce injuries caused by drowning by 20 percent.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 5 million people die of injuries every year globally. They account for 9 percent of global mortality and are a threat to health in every country of the world.
Among those, more than 1.2 million died of traffic accidents worldwide. More than 600,000 children under the age of 15 died of drowning. Two thirds of those cases are reported in low and middle income countries.