Be exceedingly cautious to avoid end-of-year road accidents

Summary

  • According to Hon Masauni, in Tanzania, most accidents are caused by reckless driving, defective vehicles, and bad roads.
  • Globally, road infrastructure, driving while drunk, excessive speeding, and other factors contribute to road accidents. Road accidents have adverse outcomes like fatalities, injuries, and property damage (vehicle itself and other properties where the accidents occur).

Have you ever been scared to travel upcountry? Yes, the last two months of the Year- November and December, are known (by some people) to be very dangerous. The media has been reporting numerous road accidents upcountry. If circumstances force you to travel upcountry, you wish to postpone. One may want to know the existing relationship between these two months and the rise in accidents compared to other months every year.

In the final two months of the year, I am one of many people who avoid long road trips out of fear.

We conversed with some friends about what was happening on our roads in different parts of the country. “If you don’t have any serious issue that forces you to travel upcountry, don’t!” one of them insisted. Another noted that even here in Dar es Salaam, she is afraid to drive her car. “I opt to use public transport or request a ride from various taxi apps,” she noted.

Hon Hamad Yussuf Masauni, the Minister for Home Affairs, last May said in 9 months (July 2021 and March 2022), about 1,191 people died in 1,594 road accidents in Tanzania. The other day, The Citizen reported that Bodaboda (motorcycle taxi) are linked to many local road collisions. More than 16,000 individuals are reported to perish each year due to bodaboda incidents.

According to the United Nations Road Safety Fund (UNRSF), about 500 children die on roads worldwide every 24 hours, while one person dies on the road every 24 seconds. According to World Health Organization (WHO), about 50 million more people are hurt in traffic accidents annually, while 1.3 million people die.

One of the leading causes of death for children and young people is said to be traffic accidents. Due to this, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged increased international efforts to halt traffic fatalities and injuries by 2030. “We must make roads safer and save lives around the world,” says Guterres.

According to Hon Masauni, in Tanzania, most accidents are caused by reckless driving, defective vehicles, and bad roads. Globally, road infrastructure, driving while drunk, excessive speeding, and other factors contribute to road accidents. Road accidents have adverse outcomes like fatalities, injuries, and property damage (vehicle itself and other properties where the accidents occur).

Due to increased road accidents, the Ministry of Health included road accidents and mental health issues while commemorating the Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs) week, from 5th to 12th November, 2022.

According to Dr. James Kiologwe, the Assistant Director, Non-Communicable Diseases Services, at Tanzania’s Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, both road accidents and mental health incidents have recently increased; a reason why they were in the agenda of commemorating NCDs week this year. The ministry saw the need to address them so as to raise awareness of actions/attention needed in prevention and broader access to care about NCDs. This year’s theme on NCDs week is “Change your lifestyle for better health.”

Non-communicable diseases include heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease. According to World Health Organization (WHO), these diseases collectively contribute to about 74 percent of all deaths globally. Yes, they are silent killer diseases. I remember, some decades ago, it was so rare to find someone with such conditions, but today, things have considerably changed because the diseases have increased rapidly in recent years.

These silent killer diseases are associated with lifestyle changes (eating lifestyles); unhealthy diets, tobacco use, physical inactivity, and overuse of alcohol, among others. That is why they are sometimes called lifestyle diseases. If we need to reduce, if not eradicate the situation, we must seriously promote our cultural foods as they are so healthy. This will help us to prevent and control these non-communicable diseases like diabetes.