Sunday, April 21, 2024
Home > Counties > Government partners with St. John`s Ambulance to build trauma centres   

Government partners with St. John`s Ambulance to build trauma centres   

Road safety in the country has been a priority for both the government and private sector, with stakeholders trying to come up with different mechanisms to reduce the number of road accidents that have claimed many lives and left many other victims with life-threatening injuries.

According to data from the 2023 Economic Survey, 4,690 deaths were reported on our roads in 2022 as compared to 4,579 in 2021, presenting an increase of 111 fatalities representing an increase of 2.4 percent.

Further statistics from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) show that as of October 2023, the country reported 3,609 deaths marking an 8.9 per cent drop compared to 2022 where 3,936 fatalities were reported in the same period. This can be attributed to efforts being put in by stakeholders to tame road carnage.

Following the spike in accidents, the government together with St. Johns Ambulance have partnered to set up an emergency trauma centre at the Karai area in Naivasha, a major blackspot along the A104 road.

The trauma centre at Karai is one of the two establishments dedicated to offer emergency medical services to stabilize accident victims before being referred to health facilities for further treatment.

Speaking during the launch of the centre, St. Johns Ambulance Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. James Njagi said the move to set up the centre was informed by the high number of accidents reported along the stretch.

In order to save more lives on the roads in times of accidents, Njagi appeals to other stakeholders to come on board and support St. Johns Ambulance set up more trauma centres across the country to offer emergency response in times of accidents.

“We are appealing to other partners to assist us so that we can open more trauma centres along our major roads and this will save tens of lives,” he says.

The CEO said there were currently 19 highway stations on the northern corridor stretch from Mombasa to Malaba but plans were underway to increase the number to 200.

NTSA estimates that more than 3,000 Kenyans died from road accidents every year – costing the country anywhere between 3-5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 83 per cent of the fatalities were men, with individuals aged between 30-34 years being most at risk, thus robbing the country of a very productive age bracket. But the World Health Organization (WHO) puts the figures at much higher. Sadly and clearly as the statistics from NTSA are showing, these numbers have been increasing every year.

Many of the accidents occur over the weekends and holidays with the hours 5:00pm-8:00am being considered as peak accident hours with drunk driving and carelessness being cited as some of the major causes.

The majority of these people who die in these accidents are vulnerable road users – pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists. In addition, nearly one-third of deaths are among passengers – many of whom are killed in unsafe forms of public transportation.

The A104 Nairobi – Malaba road which is part of the northern corridor despite being an economic lifeline not only for Kenya but for the entire East Africa region, connecting the port of Mombasa to neighbouring land locked countries like Uganda and DRC Congo, has unfortunately also been a major contributor to road carnage in the country.

Aside from the cargo transported on this route from the port of Mombasa, thousands of travelers ply this highway that connects the capital of Kenya to the western part of the country and its neighbouring countries.

However, with the many benefits accruing from this road and just like many other roads in the country, incidences of accidents have been on the rise with some being very fatal leading to loss of lives.

In a report released by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), over 4,000 people lost their lives in the country last year alone as a result of road accidents and as of February this year, 659 people had already died in road accidents, 252 of them being pedestrians.

The Government and other stakeholders have put in place several mitigation measures, in a bid to curb the rising incidences of road accidents in the country that have caused untold suffering to many families and victims of road carnage.

Among the initiatives include the erection of road signs in blackspot areas, re-designing road infrastructure and the installation of speed cameras on major highways to monitor rogue drivers, all these geared towards ensuring that cases of road accidents are reduced by 50 per cent.

The installation of speed cameras has been hailed as a game changer, especially in the counties of Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu and Machakos that lead in deaths as a result of road accidents, representing 36 per cent of the total fatalities recorded in 2022.

According to NTSA Director of Road Safety Dr. Andrew Kiplagat, the initiatives have started bearing fruits noting that there is a slight decline in the number of deaths witnessed last year.

“Last year, we lost over 4,000 people which was a decline compared to the previous year where we lost over 4,600 people on our roads but we are still concerned about the high number of accidents involving pedestrians,” he says.

By Mabel Keya – Shikuku 

Leave a Reply