The aim of this study is to describe the initiation of a national programme on injury prevention/safe community (IP/SC). Market economy, Doi Moi, was introduced in Vietnam in 1986, and since then the injury pattern has been reported to have changed. The number of traffic injury deaths has increased three-fold from 1980 to 1996 and traffic injuries more than four-fold. Injuries are now the leading cause of mortality in hospitals. There are difficulties in obtaining a comprehensive picture of the injury pattern from official statistics and, in conjunction with the work initiated by the Ministry of Health, a number of local reporting systems have already been developed. Remarkable results have been achieved within the IP/SC in a very short time, based on 20 years of experience. An organizational construction system has been built from province to local community areas. Management is based on administrative and legislative documents. IP/SC implementation is considered the duty of the whole community, local authorities and people committees, and should be incorporated into local action plans. The programme is a significant contribution towards creating a safe environment in which everybody may live and work, allowing the stability for society to develop. Implementation of the programme in schools is a special characteristic. The programme will be developed in 800 schools with a large number of pupils (25% of the population). This model for safer schools is considerably concerned and is a good experience to disseminate. The recommendations are that more pilot models of IP/SC should be conducted in other localities and that the programme should be expanded to a national scale. Furthermore, co-operation between sectors and mass organizations should be encouraged and professional skills of key SC members at all levels should be raised.