A Public Health Perspective of Road Accidents in The Gambia

Alagi Yorro Jallow.
Fatoumatta: Shock, dismay, anger follow reports of grisly and ghastly road accidents that have taken the lives of three young men, including two journalists, Mr. Pa Modou Faal and Mr. Musa Ndow, and a health worker one Mr.Kawsu Bayo. The foregoing mayhem on the Gambia’s roads is happening in a society that effortlessly combines incompetent and unaccountable leadership with corruption, hubris, and arrogance (from the administration and their supporters) that belie the reality on the ground.
What is that reality? That is incontrovertibly illustrated as recently road traffic accidents increase dramatically in the country along with the road infrastructure. People are dying on their roads because of incompetent and corrupt leaders who know that they will not be held accountable by those who are not only bearing the brunt of incompetence and corruption but are only too willing to emulate incompetence and corruption; in their daily lives! How many of these public service vehicles were road-worthy and/or paid to avoid being grounded? It does not have to be that way, and those self-flagellating at the death and pain of the “accidents” know that.
Fatoummatta: The human toll and the material loss are monumental and irreplaceable. Understandably, the view sometimes expressed that ‘humans’ are not as important as human beings…and that consideration of the fate of objects should always be secondary to alleviating human suffering.
The suffering will be much and enduring with too many road traffic accidents increasing dramatically countrywide, causing fatal deaths and injuries. People are in complicated grief and mourning of post-traumatic stress after a traffic accident. Humanity is bereaved. Amidst this loss and pain, it is not too early to start thinking about how to avert road accidents so frequent and similar tragedy occurring in the country has become notorious for terrible pet accidents of goods-laden passenger vehicles claiming lives are more prevalent recently.
The hackneyed suggestions are well-known good roads, good vehicles, and good drivers; most accidents are caused by a combination of bad roads, not roadworthy cars, and impaired driving. Owners of passenger vehicles and their drivers should observe and discharge a special duty of care to themselves and be required to address vulnerable road users and passengers.
However, there is one or two recommendation that has been missing over the years, as far as the aversion of disasters on road accidents are concerned: a total reconstruction of good roads, with an efficient, successful motorcycle highway traffic patrol police officers enforce the vehicle and traffic law, such that the slope of deaths that causes to accidents to reel back while traveling. In other words, the time has come for Government to reconstruct good road infrastructure countrywide.
Fatoumatta: The death of people in a fatal accident on the spot, with others, sustained severe injuries is such a sobering lesson on why we must deal with speeding; if the driver were at less than 100kph, it would not have turned out this fatal, why we desperately need an emergency health care system in the country and why we need a universal healthcare system for all that can guarantee emergency health care and quality healthcare in public hospitals.
If we had an emergency healthcare system-an ambulance that hovers around highway road all the time with trained medics that would have been available immediately after the accident-not sure the two journalists and the health worker would have died, and if the level of the system—an ambulance had the right equipment, we would have probably saved the lives of those involved in the accident.
Fatoumatta: It is an urgent task. A more compelling task is to prevent road accidents and save lives with effective enforcement resources in the highway patrol to reduce fatality accident rates. This is the best way, in the prevailing circumstances, to prevent further loss of lives in tragic spots all the time. One can only hope somebody in Government is reading and thinking. We mourn this loss. May God grant the souls of the departed eternal rest, and may He comfort the bereaved and grieving.

Leave a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.