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April 28, 2023

Evidence-Based Interventions in Child Drowning Prevention in Vietnam

Drowning is the silent killer that claims thousands of Vietnamese children’s lives every year. The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) has partnered with the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Hanoi University of Public Health (HUPH) and other stakeholders since 2018 to develop a child drowning prevention program that saves lives.

Data has been central to the program’s development and is continually used to refine and enhance its activities. With the initial data obtained from a baseline survey in 2018 and through best practices learned from international programs, we have identified drowning burdens in communities and offer specific and appropriate intervention strategies for each geographic region to match the local circumstance and needs. This data collection has enabled the program team and stakeholders to track program activities over time and to determine whether the program activities and outputs have been reached. Periodic and comprehensive surveys have been deployed at critical points in all program provinces and have served as key data sources for analysis. Midterm surveys in 2019 and 2022 showed concrete evidence of risks in communities, changes in child drowning patterns and difficulties encountered, and provided an evaluation of the effectiveness and sustainability of specific interventions.

In addition, monitoring and evaluation systems have been developed to continuously track achievements and provide periodic assessments of the overall performance of the program. HUPH provides technical support in monitoring and evaluation implementation and using data for improving the management of child drowning program for local partners.

Photo: Community survey with parent at program communes

The data obtained is critical for MOLISA to review program activities to make appropriate adjustments and policy recommendations. In addition, MOLISA used the program data and results to develop a National Action Plan on child injury prevention with the focus on child drowning prevention. Moreover, data on mortality, community awareness and the acceptance of the program by the communities has been included in the Government report to the Vietnam National Assembly and other ministerial reports. Program achievements were also shared widely through national advocacy workshops and international conference.

Photo: Dr Pham Viet Cuong at World Safety Conference (left) and the National Assembly Workshop in 2022

To date, the child drowning prevention program in Vietnam has had great results, including training 29,269 children on survival swimming and providing 52,250 children with water safety skills. GHAI, HUPH and MOLISA continue to work closely together to disseminate program outcomes and advocate for sustainable policies to save children’s lives.