Statement of Dr Kidong Park on the occasion of The National Consultation Workshop for child drowning prevention programme in Viet Nam

Dr Kidong Park
23 January 2018

I would welcome you to the Green One UN House and the National Consultation workshop for child drowning program in Viet Nam.

Drowning is a major cause of children mortality in Viet Nam.
More than 2,000 children lost their lives due to drowning in 2016.

Thank you colleagues from the Ministry of Planning and Investment for your clear guidance and facilitating the Government clearance process.

While drowning cases happen in all geographical areas in Viet Nam, there are differences between regions. Children in poorer regions such as the Northern mountainous region on the Central Highlands account for top drowning incidences.

Children in rural areas have the risk of drowning 2 times higher than urban areas. The higher burden of drowning in poor and remote areas also highlights the inequity in children’s access to social services.

Recognizing this problem, the Government of Viet Nam has implemented different policies and programs to prevent drowning in children such as teaching survival swimming skills to school-aged children. It is estimated that over 900,000 primary school students have basic swimming skills to date. However, this only represents only 12% of national primary school students and much still need to be done to equip them with this important life skill.

The Government of Viet Nam has also taken pro-active step in addressing child injury through the issuance of the National plan for the period 2016-2020. This plan has outlined comprehensive actions for prevention of child injury including a specific target to reduce child drowning mortality by 6% in 2020 compared with 2015.

Colleagues and friends

The pledge of the Bloomberg Initiative to address global drowning problem in the next 5 years from 2018-2022 has made drowning no longer a silent killer. Viet Nam is a country supported by this initiative.

MOLISA and WHO facilitated a scoping mission by International partners from 9–13 October 2017 in Viet Nam in order to determine the burden of drowning and the level of Government’s policies and efforts in this field.

The scoping mission identified several provinces to implement WHO recommended strategies for prevention of child drowning: teaching survival swimming and increasing children’s supervision through day care centers with focus on locations with high burden of child drowning.

Through extensive consultations with MOLISA and partners including a follow-up meeting on 15-16 November in New York, the following provinces were selected for intervention, including:

  • Lao Cai and Yen Bai from Northern mountainous region,
  • Ninh Binh from Red River Delta,
  • Quang Binh and Kon Tum from Central Highlands region,
  • and Dong Thap from Mekong Delta Region.

The project will be implemented from 2018-2022 in two phases, with the initial phase in 2018-2019.

To help plan for implementation of project activities, today’s workshop will have the following objectives:

  • To develop an outline of key project interventions, implementers and time line.
  • To discuss mechanisms for project coordination, monitoring and supervision at national and provincial levels.
  • To provide update on effective interventions for child drowning prevention.

Thank you.

Dr Kidong Park

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