Amoako Atta – Minister of Roads and highways
IN A bid to minimise death while sustaining life of victims of road traffic crashes through emergency response measures, the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) has begun the process of 100 emergency response and first aid posts at strategic locations along the major highways of the country.
Eight of such posts are already completed and fully equipped with medical items, VHF portable two-way radio device, safety boots and bicycles.
They are located at Asuboi, Bunso Junction, Asankare and Juaso on the Accra-Kumasi highway; Toje, near Kasseh; Nogokpo on the Accra-Aflao highway; and Okyereko and Gomoa Ankamu, near Apam Junction, on the Accra-Takoradi highway.
These eight emergency response and first aid posts which feed into major hospitals on the major corridors of Accra-Kumasi, Accra-Aflao, and Accra-Takoradi highways were funded by the World Bank under the Transport Sector Project (TSP) and are to respond to the needs of post-crash victims within the framework of the National Road Safety Strategy III (2011-2020).
They will be managed by the Ghana Red Cross Society with support from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), St. John’s Ambulance, Ghana National Fire Service and the Ghana Police Service on a 24-hour basis.
Inaugurating the facilities at Gomoa Ankamu, near Apam Junction, Friday, the Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said the establishment of the emergency response and first aid posts, which he also referred to as trauma centres, was triggered by the lack of capacities of the Ghana Red Cross Society and the National Ambulance Service to deal with emergency response issues within the context of providing medical care for road traffic crash victims.
The outcome of such deficit, he noted, is that crash victims are attended to either late or by persons without the requisite training who innocently offer to help these victims but end up causing more harm and in many cases death due to poor handling.
“The Road Safety Commission, therefore, undertook to strengthen the national capacities for post-crash care to victims of road traffic crashes through advocacy and resource mobilisation with the view to equip the National Ambulance Services with dedicated ambulances for victims of road traffic crashes, including training of emergency medical technicians (ETMs) and install fully equipped first aid posts at strategic locations along the national road network in addition to training of respondents,” he explained.
According to Mr. Asiamah, though the target of the NRSC is to establish 100 of such facilities across the country, the agency lacks the financial capacity to execute all.
He, therefore, appealed to public spirited organisations and individuals encouraged by the gesture of the World Bank to include in their corporate social responsibilities the establishment of the additional centres.
Mr. Asiamah, who used the occasion to also launch the 2019 Easter road safety campaign, reminded motorists of the risks associated with the activities during the festivities and cautioned them of overspeeding and driving under the influence of alcohol, among others.
He revealed that the NRSC will, in the coming days, scale up its visibility with additional support from NABCO and other volunteers at major bus terminals and road corridors across the country to reinforce global best practices in road safety.
Keeping family safe and united
“We must embrace positive road safety culture that keeps the family united and ultimately the nation safe. Let us love our families and demonstrate that with good behavior on our roads. That way, our families will stay safe to support each other, ” he stated.
He added, “Let us work together to ensure that we make the roads safer for ourselves as well as the public. Let us remain responsible road users and work towards achieving a zero incident free Easter festivities. Road safety is a share and collective responsibility. ”
The Deputy Minister for Roads & Highways and MP for Ejisu, Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi, bemoaned the increasingly incessant road traffic crash despite deliberate efforts by the ministry to improve upon the road networks in the country.
“…There cannot be safer roads without road safety measures. The Ministry of Roads and Highways working through its agencies – thus the Ghana Highways Authority, Department of Feeder Roads, Department of Urban Roads, continuously strive to improve upon the road network to increase accessibility, convenient, comfort and provide essential road safety infrastructure. Ministry is, however, disturbed that the more the roads are improved, the more dangerous they become to lives and properties because of lack of discipline on the part of some drivers. These include untimely overtaking, over speeding, parking in the carriage way without warning triangles or signs, overloading of vehicles and not respecting traffic and warning signs, ” he averred.
1.7 &%0 of GDP spent on road accidents annually
He said the government spends 1.7 per cent of its GDP annually on road accidents with research by the NRSC suggesting that about 70 per cent of all accidents in Ghana are recorded on the flats and straight roads where one will not even suspect accident to occur because of clear visibility.
Despite the high rate of road traffic crash, Mr. Owusu-Aduomi said the government will not ignore its road improvement agenda since a reliable road transport system plays a key role in the socio-economic development of the country.
“The ministry and its implementing agencies will strengthen efforts to make our roads safer for all categories of road users, including the call for the dualisation of our major roads. The government recognises the need for an expanded road network and has already included it in its medium and long term plans. In the interim, the ministry shall improve road safety standards and also increase measures and facilities and features on the road environment such as the provision of road signs, road markings, crash barriers, access for disability, and pedestrian footbridges, among others.”
Approval of GH₵1billion
He confirmed the approval of an additional GH₵1billion vault by the government, which will be released over the next three years to help deal with the backlog of road safety infrastructure needs including road signs, line markings, barriers, among others.
He assured of the ministry’s commitment to supporting the establishment of first aid posts across the country, hinting that “human lives are precious and must not be lost. ”
The Executive Director of the NRSC, Ign. Mary Obiri Yeboah, on her part, said the manhandling of crash victims has contributed to a large extent, the number of people who die through road traffic crashes, hence, the establishment of the facilities as part of their contributions to emergency services.
The eight facilities, she mentioned, are being piloted to see how it will work before scaling it up to cover the entire nation.
The Secretary-General, Ghana Red Cross Society, Kofi Addo, also expressed the belief the number of death recorded through road traffic crash will be reduced with the coming of such facilities.
He said the facilities are there to address the health needs of commuters and, therefore, urged drivers to pass by any of the emergency response and first aid posts whenever they or any of their passengers complain of any health problem while traveling on the highways.
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