As a mark of the global efforts to reduce road traffic casualties and to appreciate the work of support rendered by rescue service Agencies and organisations, the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with relevant partners has commenced a one-week National Road Safety Stakeholders summit and commemorated World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 2019, in Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the Hon. Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who was represented by the Director, Hospital Services, Dr. Joseph Amedu, said that the event, theme: “LIFE IS NOT A CAR PART” could not have been more timely as Indeed ‘’ life is not a car part that can be replaced, once it is gone, it cannot be given back.”
The Minister noted poor functional roads, bad vehicle/motor maintenance culture, poor driving behaviour, lack of proper driving education, driving under influence, over speeding, improperly planned road network, bad weather, human error, use of mobile devices and gadgets while driving, amongst others, as major causes of road accidents in Nigeria.
Although prevention is cheaper and a more pragmatic method of reducing road crashes, adequate emergency preparedness is required for victims of road crashes since crashes will still occur no matter what is done.
To this end, Dr. Ehanire informed that the federal government of Nigeria has launched the Emergency Medical Treatment Committee as stipulated in National Health Act, charged with the responsibility of providing prompt and quality emergency medical care to all Nigerians without recourse to the social status and ability to pay. This is with the use of 5% of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
The committee is currently formalizing the operational structure of emergency medical service provision to all Nigerians, as well as the commencement of a pilot Emergency Medical Services within the FCT Abuja which will then be extended to other parts of the country.
He therefore, advised that there is need to be careful on the roads whether as drivers or pedestrians. He added that as road users, “the onus is on us to use cars with appropriate safety features, obey traffic rules and regulations.”
The Minister stressed that the need for road safety regulations with punishment for offenders, adequate road infrastructure, construction of safer road and adequate human and infrastructural capacity for emergency response and post-crash care cannot be over emphasized.
Speaking earlier, the National Focal Person, United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety and Injury Prevention (UNDARSIP), Nigeria, Dr. Sydney Ibeanusi commended the Federal Government for her effort on issues of road safety with the view of reducing road crash and death in the country. He also appreciated the National assembly for providing equipment for treatment and saving of lives.
The Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, represented by the Head, Policy, Research and Statistics, Assistant Corp Marshall, Joshua Kayode, reminded that the United Nations adopted the commemoration of the event on the 26th October, 2005.
The sole aim, Dr. Oyeyemi said, is to promote issues of road safety and the impact that road accidents have on people. He disclosed that activities of the week are expected to highlight measures taken by federal government to address the loss of lives through road accidents.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) Officer –In-Charge Nigeria, Dr. Clement Peter, there is urgent need to stem the menace through awareness creation. He further urged all road users to pay more attention while on the roads.
Head (Media & Public Relations)