Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) are the leading cause of death and disability among young people in Sub-Saharan Africa (ages 15 – 29). Yes—You may want to read that again!
The rate of Road Traffic Injuries is increasing at an alarming rate around the developing world. The response to this increase, where the burden of Road Traffic Injuries is remarkably high, has been insufficient at best. Each country in Sub-Saharan Africa has unique resources, and within each country, the different regions, provinces and states have different capacities. Solutions for improving Road Safety will begin by assessing the capacity of each country and then building according to the resources that are available. The United Nation Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) presents a template that each country can build upon, with its 5 pillars. The five pillars are:
- Road Safety Management
- Safer Roads and Mobility
- Safer Vehicles
- Safer Road Users
- Post Crash Response.
Namibia, a vast country in South-West Africa, has made a few remarkable gains in Road Safety. The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) recently developed a “Strategy and Policy” on Emergency Response. Together with the Motor Vehicle and Accident Fund (MVA Fund), MOHSS outlined several objectives and goals that Namibia set for improving emergency response systems, especially in Road Safety. This is an important step in ensuring that the right policies are built upon while progressing Namibia’s capacity in executing critical public policies.
The Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce has launched a year-long project to work with the Government of Namibia and local stakeholders to improve Road Safety in Namibia. The Chamber has deployed me into Namibia for a year to work closely with the MVA Fund in highlighting the gains made and the road ahead in the area of Emergency Medical Response Systems and Road Safety in Namibia.
One area of focus is the Post Crash Response, which MVA Fund and MOHSS have advanced in Namibia. The program, which is four years old, has trained emergency responders and is providing emergency response services across Namibia. The program covers Pillar 5 of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and it continues to build on the needs of the country.
In the case of Namibia, the MVA Fund and MOHSS assessed the needs and gaps in emergency response in Namibia. They developed and motivated a case to invest time, money and resources. Four years later, the MVA Fund’s emergency response and call center is an asset to Namibia and it provides other necessary services outside its scope. Such programs are a great model to other African countries and the Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce is pleased to work with the MVA Fund and MOHSS to progress various aspects of their strategy.
For more information, contact:
Ms. Kalkidan Mulugeta
Program Director, Public Health Initiatives
Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce
This Chamber Project is partially funded by Grand Challenges Canada