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Trends of drowning mortality in Vietnam: evidence from the national injury mortality surveillance system
  1. Ha Nguyen1,2,3,
  2. Rebecca Q Ivers1,4,
  3. Cuong Pham5,
  4. Jagnoor Jagnoor1,2
  1. 1 The George Institute for Global Health, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2 John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  3. 3 Health Economics and Social Policy Group, The University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
  4. 4 School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  5. 5 Center for Injury Policy and Prevention Research, Hanoi School of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam
  1. Correspondence to Ha Nguyen, Level 12, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia; ha.t.nguyen{at}


Objective To describe the trends of drowning mortality in Vietnam over time and to identify socioeconomic characteristics associated with higher drowning mortality at the provincial level.

Methods We analysed data from the Ministry of Health injury mortality surveillance system from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2013. The surveillance covers more than 11 000 commune health centres in all provinces of Vietnam. For provincial population and socioeconomic characteristics, we extracted data from the National census 2009, the Population change and family planning surveys in 2011 and 2013. Multilevel linear models were used to identify provincial characteristics associated with higher mortality rates.

Results Over the 5-year period between 2009 and 2013, 31 232 drowning deaths were reported, equivalent to a 5-year average of 6246 drowning deaths. During this period, drowning mortality rate decreased 7.2/100 000 to 6.9/100 000 (p=0.035). Of six major geographical regions, Northern midland, Central highland and Mekong delta were those with highest mortality rates. In all regions, children aged 1–4 years had the highest mortality rates, followed by those aged 5–9 and 10–14 years. At provincial level, having a coastline was not associated with higher mortality rate. Provinces with larger population size and greater proportion of poor households were statistically significantly associated with higher mortality rates (p=0.042 and 0.006, respectively).

Conclusion While some gains have been made in reducing drowning mortality, child deaths due to drowning in Vietnam remain alarmingly high. Targeted scale-up of known effective interventions such as child supervision and basic survival skills are needed for reducing child mortality due to drowning, particularly in socioeconomically disadvantaged provinces.

  • Drowning mortality
  • epidemiology
  • Vietnam
  • low and middle-income country

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  • Contributors JJ was the lead chief investigator of the project. All authors contributed to the design of the study. HN analysed the data and drafted the manuscript. JJ, RQI and CP provided feedback and comments for revision.

  • Funding The study was funded by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in a project to examine the burden of drowning and opportunities for drowning reduction in India and Vietnam.

  • Disclaimer The funder has no involvement in the study design; collection, analysis and interpretation of data; the writing of the manuscript; the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The ethics application for this study was reviewed and approved by the Hanoi School of Public Health Institutional Review Board (Protocol 017-260/DD-YTCC).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.