June marks the end of the school year in Vietnam, requiring students and parents need to implement the road safety lessons that they have learned through the year without schools reinforcing these lessons learned. In a recent study of the school based programs in Vietnam, Helmets for Kids interventions resulted in a considerable increase in helmet use (ranging between 21% and 95% increases) across all program schools. As of May 30, 2012, nine crashes were reported where the donated helmets have saved lives of the students.
Hearing the story of fifth grader, Nguyen Ngoc Mai Thao, reminds us why wearing a helmet is so important. Thao was being driven home from school on her older brother's motorcycle, they crashed into a fence and fell off. Thao, unconscious, was hospitalized. The doctor diagnosed a brain hematoma along with Thao's many scratches, but she is now recovering well. Her brother's chin was torn and required stitches. The doctor told Thao's mother that the helmet saved the young girl's life.
Over the summer, our public awareness campaign, “Children also need a helmet”, intensified its efforts to make its messages more widely accessible. The campaign targeted parents through various online media, including blogs, a Facebook fan page, and discussion forums. These channels were effective in providing parents with road safety information and stimulating discussion about child helmet use. The campaign's TV commercial also ran during the summer on popular television channels during primetime as well as in public hospitals and buses. According to external media monitoring estimates, 24% of the Vietnamese population nationwide is expected to see our commercial three or more times; behavior change theory indicates that hearing a message three times impacts attitudes and behaviors on a subject.
As children returned to school in September, the campaign also kicked off its four month long enforcement campaign in Ho Chi Minh City, encouraging children to wear helmets. The enforcement plan was developed in coordination with the National Traffic Safety Committee, the WHO, and municipal road safety stakeholders, including Ho Chi Minh City Traffic Safety Committee, Traffic Police, Departments of Education and Training, Health, Information and Communications, and the Youth Union. Police activities will be accompanied by information counters set up in target districts where flyers and helmets are distributed to educate violators who are stopped by police. These enforcement efforts are being piloted in HCMC and rolled out elsewhere upon successful completion of the pilot.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your support of the AIP Foundation. Without you, we would not be able to provide thousands of school children with helmets, implement our national scale public awareness campaign, or collaborate with traffic police to work toward making our vision of safer roads and smarter road users a reality.
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Ho Chi Minh City,
Ho Chi Minh City,