By Juliet Umeh
A non-governmental organisation, Health Emergency Initiative HEI, has called on the private sector to get involved in efforts to reduce the number of young Nigerians dying from road traffic accidents
Executive Director of the organisation, Mr Pascal Achunine made the call during a solidarity walk to mark 2021 World Day for Remembrance of victims of Road Traffic Accidents, WDR, with the theme:’Remember, Support, Act’.
The Walk was also in collaboration with safety agencies like Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASMA, and Lagos State’s Ambulance Services, LASAMBUS.
Achunine said road accident is a leading cause of death for people between five and 29 years.
He said: “It is the biggest killer of young people in Nigeria. That means we are losing the future generation and leaders of tomorrow. It is also very important to bring to everyone’s consciousness the trauma, the pain and the anguish the victims of road accidents go through.
Currently, over 1.3 million people die every year globally from road traffic accidents and Nigeria is one of the countries.
“In the last four years, we signed a memorandum of understanding, MoU with the National Orthopedics, FRSC, federal medical centre, FMC Ebute Meta and some selected hospitals in Lagos because the accident will happen but our desire is that the frequency is limited and our desire is that the deaths and care associated for victims are also minimal.
“That MoU requires that when you take any accident victims to the hospitals mentioned above, they can access post-crash care at the expense of our organization.
“We’ve been doing this for the last four years but this time, we are creating more awareness on how we can mitigate or reduce the pains, deaths and also to have the private sector. We noticed that the private sector is not very much involved in this process and I just want to draw the attention that more Nigerians who can work for the private sector, are dying because of this,” he said.
Speaking, Sector Public Education Unit, FRSC, Mrs Olabisi Sonusi, advised Lagosians not to be part of those that will be remembered by adhering to safety rules.
She said: “In other not to be part of it, you have lots of things to do. Maintain a safe speed, avoid wrong driving, avoid night travelling, don’t use a phone while you drive, and if we stick to these, every one of us will enjoy quality road experience especially this ember month.”
In the same vein, the Head of the Hospital Engagement and Visitation of HEI, Mr Kanayo Okonkwo said the major aim of the NGO is to see that none dies.
He said: “Since we started, we have more than 200 people we have been able to take care of their issues on road accidents. But generally, we have over 400 people that we have impacted their lives. We really don’t want to know whether you are a Christian or Muslim tribe, we don’t care as long as you are a human being and you are involved in any of the emergency situations.”