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118 National standardised survivial swim program to prevent child drowning in Vietnam
  1. Huyen Doan Thi Thu,
  2. Cuong Pham Viet,
  3. Anuradha Khanal
  1. Global Health Advocacy Incubator, A Program of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Usa, Ha Noi, Viet Nam


Drowning is a leading cause of death among children under 15 years of age, with 2,000 children lives lost each year in Viet Nam.

Research showed that training on survival swimming was the most effective method to reduce the risk of child drowning.

Survival swimming intervention piloted in eight of the highest burden provinces with aim to cover 20% of national child drowning burden.

Survival swimming and water safety education were chosen as interventions, targeting children aged 6–15 years old. Training materials standardized by Sport Committee, implemented by Ministry of Labor, Social and Invalid Affairs, Ministry of Education and Training.

By end of 2020, 13,335 children trained on survival swim and 17,425 children educated on water safety skills. The rate of children who able to swim increased from 14.7% to 27% after the intervention. On their first attempt, 67% of children passed the certification test, that requires continuously swimming 25 meters and floating for 90 seconds and demonstrating basic knowledge of water safety. Age, gender, attendance, physical strength were found as the factors associated with ability to pass the test. Drowning rate significantly decreased. Their core components were integrated into the Government’s 10 Year National Program on Child Injury Prevention, with a target of 60% of children of primary and lower secondary school age learning to swim by 2030.

Since 2022, the program expanded to 22 provinces, covering 47% of national child drowning burden. Through the innovative 10-Year Program, localities got the blueprint for setting priorities and allocating sustainable budgets.

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