20th December, 2010
Following constant road traffic accidents on Nigeriaâ€™s highways and the high casualty rate, a road safety coalition based in Lagos State has decried the emergency response and trauma care situation in the country.
â€œWe have to change the way we think about crashes, majority of people think that crashes are due to fate. We have to think of a crash as a preventable event, that a death in a crash is a premature death,â€ said the coalition in a release.
The coalition is made up of four non-government organisations. They are Arrive Alive Road Safety Initiative; Temidayo Ogan Child Safety And Support, TOCSS Foundation; Safety Beyond Borders, Association for Better Environment and Life Saversâ€™ Initiative.
The group called on all stakeholders to help improve the emergency services on Nigerian roads, saying that the NGOs embraced the concept of a Decade of Action for Road Safety as declared by the United Nations through collaboration.
â€œWe have long recognised our national interconnectedness in the problems of and solutions to the road crash crisis and the need to intensify joint efforts,â€ they said.
The statement describes the services of the numerous emergency response units as an essential service to humanity, a service that does not put up with political or geographical conditions, while calling on relevant health institutions, road safety agencies, civil society groups and the 36 states governments of the Federation to scale up emergency response activities in harmony with a view to improving road safety management and ultimately improving the nationsâ€™ economy.
Should there be an incident that is life-threatening, the group called on the nearest rescue support team to an accident scene to help save the situation, even if it was a neighbouring state, stressing that there should be no border lines to emergency response.
â€œWe call upon state governments to recognise the tremendous economic, emotional, social and medical cost of road crashes and to assume a leadership role in their prevention. We urge you to address traffic related injuries as a serious and growing public health issue.
â€œFor example, there should be strong collaboration between Lagos emergency services and their Ogun counterpart; Plateau and Bauchi, to rescuing victims of road crash on all the roads connecting the various states. For emergency responses, there shouldnâ€™t be any political bias in rescuing victims,â€ the group stated.
â€œPeople, roads and vehicles form the same important combination all over the world â€“ that of being able to transfer themselves or goods from one place to another. Road safety crisis can be described as one of the biggest global health catastrophes with an enormous negative impact on the social and economical elements of society. Lagos Fire service should be able to assist in Mowe/Ibafo should there be crisis there. We recommend in strong terms smooth inter-agency/state emergency services in Nigeria ,â€ it added.
The group called on all Commissioners of Health, Transportation and the Special Advisers on Transportation to the Governors across the country to partner in achieving the United Nationsâ€™ Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-20).