More attention should be placed on protecting children's rights and welfare, said Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep.

At a workshop in Hanoi on May 16 on child-injury prevention for the 2011 – 2015, Craig Burgess, from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), expressed concerns about the alarming rate of child injuries in Vietnam .

In Vietnam, there is a 20 percent rate of death from injury in under 19-year-olds and 30,000 deaths each year – 12 percent of all deaths, according to Nguyen Hai Huu, director of the ministry's Department of Children Protection and Care.

The cost of treating injuries is estimated at 30 trillion VND (1.4 billion USD) annually – 35 percent of which involves people under 19 years old.

Huu said the leading cause of childhood death was drowning (50 percent) followed by traffic accidents.

The national child-safety programme has a budget of 111.7 million USD.

Ngo Thi Minh, Permanent Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly's Committee for Culture, Education, Youth, and Children, said ministries and organisations should focus on mobilising public support for the programme.

Child-injury prevention should be given top priority, she said.

Injury is a global issue, which threatens the very fabric of society. A noticeable feature is that 95 percent of childhood deaths from injury are in middle – and low-income countries, according to Huu.

According to Tran Tuan, Director of the Centre of Community Research and Development, the majority of childhood deaths from injury could be put down to the ignorance of adults.

"Greater effort should be placed on creating a safe environment for children," Huu said.

Specific, realistic and achievable objectives, activities and solutions were under discussion, Huu added. /.