The number of child drowning has shown a decline as a result of a multi-sectoral plan on child drowning prevention launched in 2011, it was reported at a conference in Hanoi on September 11.

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) Doan Mau Diep said however, the number still remains at a high level.

Statistics showed that 1,708 children lost their lives due to drowning last year, mainly during summertime. In the first half of this year, the figure amounted to nearly 700.

The plan on preventing child drowning is being carried out nationwide from 2012 to 2015, with the aim of reducing the number of child fatalities from drowning by one-fourth compared to the 2010 figure.

The deputy minister urged ministries, departments and localities to learn from international experience in this regard.

Nguyen Trong An, deputy head of the MoLISA’s Child Care and Protection Department said more than 40 cities and provinces have so far launched their own plans of action, focusing on reinforcing the waterway traffic safety regulations and building an environment safe for children at homes, in schools and communities. Over 500,000 households have committed to building safe houses while some 200 communes are recognised as safe.

Free swimming courses have been piloted in many localities and first-aid networks have been rolled out widely, he said.

The workshop was co-hosted by the MoLISA and the World Health Organisation.-VNA