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April 10, 2023

Drowning Prevention Program Launch in Quang Tri Province Vietnam

Since 2022, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) has partnered with Swim For Life in Vietnam to design, test, scale and raise awareness for the child drowning prevention program that saves the lives of children 6-15 years old. On March 28, 2023, GHAI collaborated with Swim for Life, the Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Sports in the Quang Tri province on the first-ever drowning prevention program launch.

As a province in the North Central Coast region of Vietnam, Quang Tri is among the poorest provinces and suffers a heavy flood season, leading to a high child drowning burden. The technical support offered by the program is valuable to this province and they are a case study in how to sustain the drowning prevention program locally, even in a low-income environment. It also reflected a joint action across sectors, in line with the inter-ministerial action plan on child drowning prevention for 2023 – 2030. Participants included representatives from all schools in Quang Tri, including more than 450 students and staff from the Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, the Department of Education and Training, the Department of Sports and local news agencies.

This event offered students an opportunity to understand the problem of child drowning, preventative measures and practice crucial water safety skills. Students from four districts, including Dong Ha, Cam Lo, Vinh Linh and Trieu Phong were divided into four teams, performing small skits with the message of child protection and showing their knowledge through quiz games and activities. As part of the competition, teams also took part in demonstrations to test their water rescue skills, such as wearing life jackets, throwing floating objects, etc. Additionally, the question and answer session engaged audiences in child drowning prevention discussions, receiving positive responses from all participants.

At the event, Ms. Huyen Doan, GHAI Vietnam Country Director, reaffirmed that survival swimming is one of the most important and effective solutions to reduce child drowning and teaching survival swimming in schools is a proven intervention in many countries. She highlighted key outcomes from the child drowning program implemented last year in Trieu Phong, Quang Tri province. The program provided training for more than 100 lecturers and teachers, free swim training for nearly 300 children aged 6-15, and water safety education for approximately 3,000 children in schools.

She also acknowledged the GHAI’s commitment to support Quang Tri province for the next two years through Swim for Life, and to expand the intervention areas to two new districts, Cam Lo and Vinh Linh. The program will also provide free swim training for 1,840 children from 6-15 years old and water safety education for 14,265 children. At the same time, the program will also work to expand a network of survival swimming instructors and teachers through training courses.