Vietnam looks to tackle child drowning

As many as 3,600 injuries are reported every day in Vietnam, killing about 90 people, said Professor Nguyen Truong Son, deputy minister of health at a national scientific conference on injury prevention in Hanoi on Tuesday.

Vietnam looks to tackle child drowning
Teaching children how to swim in the northern province of Hung Yen. VNA/VNS Photo Pham Kien

“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 had increased, urging the necessity for psychological health care and lifestyle education for adolescents, especially during puberty.

Vu Thi 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 was to reduce the number of deaths by drowning.

To realise the target, the ministry had organised classes to teach children how to swim and equip them with safety skills.

The ministry had worked with agencies to compose safe swimming textbooks to teach children swimming skills so that after training, children can swim at least 25m and float for 90 seconds, she said.

The ministry had also made schools and houses safer by erecting fences, warning signs and using cribs to take care of children.

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, namely Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa, Quang Binh, Dak Lak, Dong Thap and Soc Trang.

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 per cent.

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 5 million people die of injuries every year globally. They account for 9 per cent 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.

Swimming programmes for children to be expanded

Swimming programmes for children to be expanded

Vietnam had been taking measures to teach children how to swim in recent years, but more than 2,000 children still died from drowning annually.

Five young victims drown

Five young victims drown

Five young girls were found dead in a local river in the central province of Quang Bình in a single day. The five victims drowned in two separate incidents on Thursday.

Three children in Kien Giang drowned at construction site

Three children in Kien Giang drowned at construction site

Three children in the southern province of Kien Giang have drowned in a pond of a local construction site.


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