Adapted from:KBC News
Written By:Margaret Kalekye/release, Posted: Thu, Nov 11, 2010
An ambitious road safety campaign aimed at reducing road carnage in the country will be unveiled next week.
The campaign to be launched next Monday is a joint initiative by the Total Kenya, the World Bank and the Kenya Government.
Speaking at a media workshop in Nairobi Word Bank’s Road Safety Specialist Victor Ako Mengot said the objective of this campaign was to reduce thousands of unnecessary injuries and deaths, often caused by drivers and car occupants not following simple instructions such as wearing a seatbelt, using a child restraint, checking head rests and tires.
“Road crashes kill at least 1.3 million people each year and injure 50 million, a toll greater than deaths from malaria, with up to ninety percent of these road casualties occurring in low and middle income countries” Mr Mengot said.
By 2015 road crashes are predicted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be the leading cause of premature death and disability for children aged 5 and above.
He added: “In Kenya road accidents account for the loss of more than 3,000 lives annually, a significant proportion of these are young and productive men and women in the 15-45 years age bracket. The economic cost of such road accidents and fatalities has estimated to be in excess of 4 billion shillings This is a huge lose by any standard that needs an urgent Response.”
The launch of National Road Safety Education and Awareness Week will enlist the involvement of five other Ministries including the Ministries of Road, Transport, health security and special programmes.
Kenya has one of the highest rates of accident in the world at present with 510 fatal accidents for every 100,000 registered vehicles.
Between January and September 2010 the Kenya Traffic Police recorded 1,899 fatal accidents on Kenyan roads.
“The situation is worsened by the steady rise in road accidents caused by operators of motorcycles (boda-boda) to an extent that major hospitals in principle towns in the country are now dedicating a whole Ward to motorcycle accident victims. Not only is this a drain on the resources of the Health Ministry it also results in loss of income for operators/users, high insurance claims and robbing of families of their loved and livelihoods when fatalities occur,” Mr. Mengot explained.
The proposed road safety education and awareness week is the beginning of a series of campaigns lasting up the UN Launch of the Global Decade of Action for Road safety in May 2011.
The aid of the Decade of Action is to mobilise resource, develop institution and plan intervention that will reduce road accident by 50% by the year 2015.
Kenya is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to roll out the global campaign, which has been billed as the largest private sector road safety sensitization initiative.