As only 3.3 percent of children in north-central Vietnam’s Nghe An Province are able to swim, local authorities have planned to organize more swimming lessons in a bid to minimize drowning in the locality.
The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs convened a working session with local leaders on Wednesday to discuss measures on drowning prevention among children.
Nghe An is currently home to 875,825 children, of whom 16 percent are from poverty-stricken households, a representative of the labor ministry said at the meeting.
Only about 29,000 children in the province can swim, accounting for just over 3.3 percent.
There are many canals, ponds, and lakes in residential areas across Nghe An, while local weather conditions are quite extreme and often entail torrential rains and floods.
The province has 127 swimming pools, which is far less than what is needed to provide local children with swimming lessons and water safety skills.
From 2020 to April 2022, 122 children lost their lives in 109 water-related accidents in the locality.
Fourteen kids drowned in the first four months of this year alone.
Drowning among children has become a big concern for leaders and authorities of Nghe An, said Bui Dinh Long, vice-chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
Many directives, documents, and programs have been implemented to equip local children with swimming and water safety skills, Long continued.
Long proposed that the government direct the education sector to add swimming lessons to school curricula at all levels, and that swimming pools be built at educational institutions, with priority given to low-income communes and mountainous localities.
Nguyen Thi Ha, Deputy Minister of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs, shared her hope that Nghe An authorities continue to raise awareness of water safety among local families.
The province should mobilize resources from residents and businesses for the establishment of swimming pools, so that 20 percent of local schools can have swimming pools by 2027, Ha said.
In the past few days, officials in Nghe An and neighboring Ha Tinh Province have initiated campaigns encouraging residents to join swimming courses in order to prevent drowning.