MOLISA and Bloomberg join hands to prevent child drowning

Update: June, 03/2018 - 19:00
Representatives pose for a photo at the cooperation agreement signing ceremony. — VNS Photo Thu Trang
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — A cooperation agreement on child drowning prevention has been signed between the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the Bloomberg philanthropy.

Speaking at the signing ceremony on Friday afternoon, MOLISA Deputy Minister Nguyễn Thị Hà said that in the period of 2010-13, about 2,800 children drowned every year. The number of child drowning cases decreased in the period of 2015-17, with about 2,000 cases annually.

“However, the number remains high and drowning is the biggest cause of fatalities in children. Studies show that Vietnamese children drowning at rates higher than in other Southeast Asian countries and eight times higher than in developed countries,” said Hà.

Families’ and community’s awareness of the issue was limited, she said. Supervision of children, especially in rural and poor remote areas, is often limited as they play outside.

Localities lack swimming teachers and infrastructure for teaching the skill, so children don’t know how to be safe near water and their surroundings contain many latent risks.

Deputy Minister Hà said that during the past few years, different organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the Bloomberg philanthropy have actively supported Việt Nam in preventing child drowning. Hà expressed her belief that in the future, with help from the organisations, child drowning prevention projects will be implemented effectively in different provinces and cities.

Kelly Larson, director of the public health programme under the Bloomberg philanthropy, said that since 2012, the philanthropy had assisted child drowning prevention programmes in Bangladesh and Philippines.

The programmes have been conducted well in the two countries over the past five years.

Larson said she hopes that with cooperation between MOLISA and the Bloomberg, the work of child drowning prevention would achieve effective results. — VNS