A helmet worn, a life saved…Vietnam reviews child helmet action plan

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Kim Lan, Hoai Thu and Duy Khang, are the names of just a few of the primary school children who met with road crashes last year, but fortunately did not sustain head injuries. They were wearing motorcycle crash helmets.

In Asian countries such as Vietnam, two-wheelers are the main mode of transport and account for the majority of vehicles involved in a crash. A motorcycle crash helmet can reduce the chances of a fatality by 42% and those of serious injury by 69%.

Efforts in Vietnam, to increase helmet wearing rates, are beginning to bear fruits. In January 2015 the AIP Foundation, in collaboration with the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC), the Global Road Safety Partnership, WHO and UNICEF, launched the “National Child Helmet Action Plan” (NCHAP) – a campaign aimed at increasing awareness of helmet wearing. A review conference held on 24th February 2016 presented results of the multi-partner initiative.

Supported by the FIA Foundation and the UPS Foundation, AIP Foundation’s campaign for the National Child Helmet Action Plan was run in several provinces. It brought together government bodies, both national and local, socio-political organisations, and local authorities, providing them with a platform on which to work together to plan and monitor child helmet regulation compliance. The campaign was run in major cities and provincial areas. It involved a massive push in educating school staff and students on helmet use through orientation and training workshops; a school manual on helmet use and best practice was developed and distributed (it was later also adapted by the Ministry of Education & Training for use in primary schools); the AIP Foundation collaborated with The National Traffic Police who in turn engaged with the media to cover enforcement activities.

Results from the campaign showed that between March 2014 and December 2015, helmet wearing rates increased significantly: by almost 10% on average in Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Min City, and by 20% on average in 12 provinces. These results fall in line with the national trend recorded by the World Health Organisation (WHO), indicating that helmet wearing rates rose from 90% for drivers and 75% for passengers in 2011 to 96% and 83% respectively in 2013.

The outcomes of the campaign were revealed at a review workshop, held in February this year, which was organised by the NTSC, the National Traffic Police, the Ministry of Education and Training and the AIP Foundation. Government representatives, Traffic Police from 15 provinces, inter-ministries’ representatives, international organisations and the media were among the 150 participants at the event.

Addressing the stakeholder gathering, Dr Khuat Viet Hung, Vice Chairman of the NTSC said “I hope that we may learn from the challenges and successes of the previous year to continue pushing for increased child helmet use in the year ahead.” AIP Foundation President, Greig Craft said “The work done this year set an important foundation for progress and collaboration between stakeholders from various sectors.” The AIP Foundation, a partner of the FIA Foundation, has been dedicated for 17 years to the effective development and implementation of road safety programmes in Asia and Africa www.aip-foundation.org.

Road fatalities in Vietnam are on a gradual but steady decline – thousands of lives have already been saved but further work is needed to save more lives and reduce the number of crashes and serious injuries. Thanks to the efforts of partners like the AIP Foundation there is hope to save millions of lives across the globe, adding many more names to list of children saved.