Vietnam takes action on child helmets
A new national action plan to increase the level of motorcycle helmet wearing for children has been launched in Vietnam. The action plan has support from the new global partnership between the FIA Foundation and UNICEF.
Each week, more than 40 children are killed on the roads in Vietnam, many as a result of head injuries and hundreds more are injured. Helmet use is mandatory by law for both adults and children over the age of 6 in Vietnam.
For adults, helmet wearing rates have reached more than 85% in urban areas in Vietnam but levels of child helmet wearing are far lower. Campaigning and enforcement has been far more effective for adults than children. In research from the city of Da Nang for example, only 38% of children wore helmets compared to 98% coverage for adults.
The action plan builds on the first phase of a national child helmet campaign developed by the AIP Foundation which is a leading partner. The first phase of the child helmet campaign developed by the AIP Foundation had focused on improving police enforcement, education and public campaigning to increase levels of helmet wearing among children. As a result, in early phases of the campaign helmet rates in Ho Chi Minh City increased from 22.2% to nearly 50%.
The plan now has an ambitious target to address this increasing child helmet wearing to 80% nationally by the end of 2016. Wearing a motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of death in the event of a crash by up to 40% and the chance of a serious injury by up to 70%.
A strong coalition of project partners is working closely with Vietnam’s lead agency on road safety, the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC). Supported by the global partnership with the FIA Foundation, UNICEF will collaborate on a range of programmatic activities including education, and advocacy work. An MoU to help plan cooperation between the UNICEF Vietnam Country Office and the AIP Foundation will soon be launched. Other key partners on the action plan include the WHO, the UPS Foundation and the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP).
On behalf of the FIA Foundation-UNICEF Global Partnership on Child Road Injury Prevention, Avi Silverman took part in the launch event for the action plan on 13 January. He said:
“It’s encouraging to see such a strong coalition of Vietnamese and international partners coming together to advance this vital work contributing to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. This initiative has the potential to become a leading example to the rest of the world, to prevent road injuries and fatalities among children and to uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. With the National Child Helmet Action Plan we have the chance to save children’s lives on Vietnam’s roads – we must not fail our children.”
Dr. Khuat Viet Hung, Vice Chairman of Vietnam’s National Traffic Safety Committee said: “The National Child Helmet Action Plan strives to increase child helmet wearing rates. We will do this through closely coordinated interventions, including a communications campaign, education in schools, and police enforcement of child helmet regulations.”
Greig Craft, President of AIP Foundation said: “The burden of road crashes that families across Vietnam face every day is unacceptable. AIP Foundation aims to ensure every child is protected when on the roads. We have been working closely with NTSC and the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) on these efforts, and will continue to do so by supporting the National Child Helmet Action Plan.”
Through to December 2015 the action plan will focus activities across 13 provinces in Vietnam. A range of initiatives have been identified as priorities for development under the plan. Public communications have been redeveloped by the AIP Foundation and partners, moving on from earlier communication material used from 2011-2013 which is now outdated. A new PSA film themed, ‘love your child, provide a helmet’ has been developed and will be rolled out with the action plan. The PSA has benefited from strong coalition work between government, civil society and the private sector.
The plan incorporates the ‘Helmets for Kids’ school-based model which has been successfully developed by the AIP Foundation. Through helmet donations, training and education this approach has provided an effective way of engaging with communities to increase helmet wearing.
Alongside this, work on other key areas will be taken forward including monitoring and evaluation, targeting low income regions which have some of the lowest rates of helmet wearing, and improving enforcement nationwide which is integral to the plan.
UN Global Road Safety Week from 4-11 May will provide a first major focal point of the action plan. Campaigning will build momentum ahead of the week. During March and April the coalition will step up campaigning and enforcement, launching a national day for child helmet wearing. In May, public campaign events will take place during the week and linked to the global #SaveKidsLives initiative. A mid-term review and results will also be presented during UN Global Road Safety Week.