By: Kebba AF Touray
Momdou Gassama, a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), has told journalists that according to the WHO’s 2018 Global Status Report, approximately 1.3 million people around the world die from road accidents and up to 50 million people with non-fatal injuries.
Gassama said this on Monday during his presentation at a day-long road safety sensitization forum organized by the Transport, Works and Infrastructure Ministry for journalists.
“More than half of road traffic deaths and injuries involve vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and their passengers. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of deaths for children and young adults aged 5 to 29,” he said.
Gassama said road safety hinges on five building blocks namely, appropriate road safety management, safer vehicles, safer road users, safer roads and the required number of trauma care specialists to tackle some critical injuries as a result of road accident. He cited over speeding, drink driving, among others as some of the risk factors that contribute to the rising incident of road accidents.
Dr. Musa Kah, a representative of Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, during his presentation on road safety status (health care perspective) ,said the impact of road traffic accidents is disability which can lead to poverty and dependency, adding injuries and disability affect a whole family.
Kah said lack of equipped infrastructure (trauma care center), human resources, training and data are some of the key gaps that the country needs to ensure road traffic accidents are mitigated.
Modou K Ceesay, Permanent Secretary at the Transport Ministry in his opening remarks, said road accident is a problem that is confronting the country and the involvement of journalists in sensitizing the populace on the importance of road safety is central.
Photo: Participating journalists
Ceesay said the role of journalists in making people aware of the dangers of road accidents, which is causing serious fatalities and injuries to the people, will undoubtedly help to mitigate road accidents. He urged journalists to also specialize in the area of road safety and to come up with columns in their respective media outlets in a bid to make people aware of the dangers of road accidents and what mechanism can be deployed to avert the menace.
“This is because every life matters and that the whole architect of sensitization is to save lives as a result of road accidents, through widening the knowledge of the general public on the significance of road safety because road safety is the responsibility of everyone,” he said.
Meanwhile, the forum aims to widen the awareness of journalists on the significance of road safety in the ministry’s effort to mitigate the trend in road accidents, as well as for the journalists to play their role in making the populace aware of the dangers associated with road accidents.