WHO launches campaign to prevent drunk driving in Vietnam

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The World Health Organization and the National Traffic Safety Committee have launched an expanded campaign to strengthen road safety in Vietnam, with focus on the prevention of drunk-driving.

The campaign is part of the ongoing Road Safety in Ten Countries (RS10) a five-year initiative supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies.  

The project begun last year with a consortium of partners receiving funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies to expand road safety in 10 low or middle-income countries: Brazil, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam.  

The consortium that includes the WHO, Johns Hopkins University and the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), is charged with engaging governments and NGOs to promote more responsible driver behavior, trauma care and data collection in each of these countries.

According to the WHO, the expanded campaign in Vietnam will continue to raise public awareness of the dangers and consequences of drunk-driving, this time focusing on police enforcement of anti-drunk driving laws.

Under the project, a series of coordinated activities will be implemented nationally, and especially in Ha Nam and Ninh Binh provinces, until the end of 2011.

"Alcohol impairment is a major risk factor for road trauma in Vietnam," said Graham Harrison, acting WHO representative in Vietnam.

"Local monitoring from hospitals in Ha Nam and Ninh Binh during the initial months of the project indicated that about 23 percent of all road traffic injured patients had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding the legal limit.

"This major impact has also been seen in other hospitals nationwide."

Than Van Thanh, chief secretariat of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said the prevention of drunk-driving will be a national road safety priority in the years to come.

Thanh added public awareness campaigns coupled with intensive police enforcement will continue across Vietnam. 

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