Health Minister identifies road traffic collisions as major health, economic hazard, calls for caution

Hon. Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission(FRSC), Dr.Boboye Oyeyemi releasing balloons at a function in a Abuja to mark the 2016 United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety and Traffic Injury Prevention in Nigeria.

ABUJA (Health Ministry’ Report)- Minister of State for Health, Dr.Osagie Ehanire has said that road traffic collisions (RTC) constitute major health and economic hazard globally with extensive deleterious effect in developing countries including Nigeria.

The Minister gave this indication in Abuja on Thursday November 17, 2016  at the World Press Conference to mark the 2016 World Day of Remembrance for Victims of Road Traffic Crashes.

He said that recent reports confirmed that about 1.3 million persons were killed and up to 50 million persons injured every year on the roads globally, adding that up to twenty million persons amongst the survivors were disabled from traffic related injuries.

He stated that the World Health Organisation and the World Assembly projected that by the year 2020, Road Traffic Collisions (RTC) would have risen as the 3rd leading cause of disability and the 5th leading cause of death by 2030 stressing that the worrisome aspect of this information was that up to 90% of the deaths and the disabilities from RTC occur in low and middle income countries like Nigeria.

Dr.Ehanire noted that the projected rise in the incidence puts RTC and Road Traffic Injuries (RTI) well ahead of infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV & AIDS, Diarrheal Diseases and Tuberculosis which currently are the major public health issues in Nigeria.

He stressed that the highlighted projections informed the decision of the United Nations (UN) to declare the Decade of Action on Road Safety from the year 2011 to 2020, which mandated member countries to adopt programmes aimed at reducing deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 50% by the end of the decade.

He said that the Federal Ministry of Health as a responsive Ministry, coordinating the activities of the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety and Traffic Injury Prevention (UN-DARSTIP) in Nigeria, in collaboration with various stakeholders and in keeping with the mandate of the UN Decade of Action has adopted and established measures to ensure that deaths and disabilities arising from RTC are reduced to the barest minimum.

The Minister enumerated some of the measures to include among others, the establishment of a National Trauma Centre at the premises of the National Hospital, establishment of Curriculum for the Training of Paramedics in Nigeria, establishment of National Auto-crash Information System(NACRIS) in collaboration with Federal Road Safety Corps which is aimed at comprehensive data collection on RTC, and the establishment of Integrated National Ambulance System and National Emergency Management Policies.

Earlier, in his remarks, the Corps Marshal of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi said that the Commission has strong collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health to reduce road crashes in the country.

He said that FRSC has established 26 roadside clinics and 17 zonal clinics across the country adding that the roadside clinics would be part of the primary healthcare that will provide services to road crashes victims

He noted that so many lives have been lost since independence adding that the FRSC was leaving no stone unturned to reduce crashes in Nigeria to a manageable level.

While emphasizing on the use of seat belts describing it as paramount, he noted that traffic light violations had resulted in so many road crashes. ‘’We are not interested in fines but to serve as deterrent for violators, a life you safe today is yours, drive safely to stay alive,’’ he said.