Drowning is one of the top 10 causes of death for children from 5 to 14 years old in Vietnam. On average, more than 2,000 children die from drowning each year. Bloomberg Philanthropies, with support from the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), has been partnering with the Ministry of Labor, War-Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) within the government of Vietnam since 2018 to address this issue.

Over the last 5 years, the program has provided survival swim training for nearly 30,000 school-aged children and has trained more than 50,000 children on water safety education in educational settings. The number of children who can swim has doubled in the provinces that have implemented these trainings. And importantly, co-funding from local authorities continues to increase, reaching more than $1.9 million, which is a critical step towards local ownership of the program sustainability.

On June 1, the Department of Child Affairs (DCA MOLISA), Bloomberg Philanthropies and GHAI signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue partnering on child drowning prevention activities through 2025. This special event took place on International Children's Day and opened a new period of cooperation for child drowning prevention.

At the ceremony, Vandana Shah, Vice President of Health Systems Strengthening and the Drowning Prevention Program Director at GHAI shared: “We applaud Vietnam’s achievements in drowning prevention over the last five years, especially the leadership of the National Assembly, the Government and the Ministry of Labor - Invalids and Social Affairs. We are committed to support the Vietnamese government over the next three years to achieve the set goals forth for the drowning prevention program. Vietnam is well on its way to becoming a successful model for the rest of the world in building a national drowning prevention program. In this next phase we hope that Vietnam will develop more specific national regulations and policies to ensure the program's sustainability and scaling up.”

Madame Vu Thi Kim Hoa, the Vice Director of the Department of Child Affairs expressed her belief that Vietnam can achieve the goal of teaching 50% of children aged 6-15 to swim and teaching 60% of children water safety skills with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and GHAI. Moreover, Mrs. Hoa noted that this is a meaningful gift for Vietnamese children on the occasion of International Children's Day and Action Month for Children 2023. Vietnam will make additional efforts to expand the scale of drowning prevention interventions in provinces across the country.

Over the next three years, the program will provide free training for at least 200 supervisors and instructors on safe swimming and water safety skills and teach survival swimming to at least 25,760 children aged 6 to 15. At the same time, the program continues to support inter-sectoral coordination on child drowning prevention, the capacity of ministries and organizations to apply standardized guidelines on safe swimming and safety skills. “Drowning is completely preventable if every family and adult proactively pays more attention and ensures the safety of their children. Knowing how to swim is important but not enough, and children need to have water safety skills, and understand how to protect themselves in bad situations.” said Mrs. Doan Thu Huyen –Country Representatives of GHAI in Vietnam.

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