Brian's Column: Destructive adverts and updates from Africa!

Brian's Column: Destructive adverts and updates from Africa!

In this edition of Brian's Column, we get an update of all things African road safety from the commemoration of the World Day of Remembrance and updates in the region as well as an exploration of adverts that detract from road safety messages. Check out Brian's Column for all the latest in African Youth and Road Safety issues!

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Hello superstars…November couldn’t have started at a higher note. Thanks for staying alive and influencing your sphere of influence (and I mean every one ranging from your family, school, peers and your dog too). It’s all our responsibility. As for me, I had the chance to start the new month on the right foot with a shot at the National Emergency Trauma care symposium where issues to do with policy, research and practice were discussed with a strong focus on our national road safety plan.

We can’t really keep quiet on ‘the leading cause of avoidable death among 15-44 year olds’. Needless to say, I met a number of injury management superstars:-but you have all heard about Dr. Olive Kobusingye? She is a renowned researcher, and she doesn’t need much introductions: Just ask Google. I asked her to marry me, and she responded ‘I am already very busy with injury, trauma prevention & advocacy’! Sounded tasty!

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Brian with Dr. Olive Kobusingye talking all things emergency trauma care.

In case you didn’t know, Sunday 17th November was the world day of remembrance for road traffic victims. We look forward to receiving your photos and videos of your work sooner.

This is not like any other day! From 1995, Road Victim Advocacy NGOs under the umbrella of the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims, FEVR, observed this Day (initiated by UK’s Road Peace in 1993) – first as European Day of Remembrance, but soon as World Day when NGOs from South Africa, Argentina and Israel joined.

Road deaths and injuries are sudden, violent, traumatic events, the impact of which is long-lasting, often permanent. Each year, millions of newly injured and bereaved people from every corner of the world are added to the countless millions already suffering as the result of a road crash. The burden of grief and distress experienced by this huge number of people is all the greater because many of the victims are young, because many of the crashes could and should have been prevented and because the response to road death and injury and to victims and families is often inadequate, unsympathetic, and inappropriate to the loss of life or quality of life.

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This special Remembrance Day is intended to respond to the great need of road crash victims for public recognition of their loss and suffering (see Messages & Thoughts from victims). This day has also become an important tool for governments and all those whose work involves crash prevention or response to the aftermath, since it offers the opportunity to demonstrate the enormous scale and impact of road deaths and injuries and the urgent need for concerted action to stop the carnage. So, please always highlight it on your calendar.

Let me also fly you to Namibia where MVA has supported high traffic fines! Congrats really! The Motor-Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) says the existing high traffic fines are necessary in order to deter would-be traffic offenders from doing just that. The Fund’s management team said this in a statement issued yesterday in response to the leadership of the Namibia Taxi and Transport Union (NTTU)’s petition to the National Assembly (NA) on issues relating to Namibia’s road infrastructure, as well as the organisation’s calls for the reduction of traffic fines.

The union submitted a petition to the NA on 25 July 2013, which petition was referred to the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs on 03 October this year for further action. The MVA is of the opinion that the fines are necessary, as road safety education for adults in the country is “toothless”.

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Overtake if you want, advert on the back of a car in Uganda.

We can only wish that this action becomes contagious in countries who according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013: Supporting a Decade of Action(2013), Nigeria and South Africa have the highest road traffic death rates (33.7 and 31.9/100 000, respectively) and, together with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, account for 64% of all road traffic deaths in the region.

Kicking it: I was taken aback by one ad being used by one of the radio stations in western Uganda: Have a look at this sticker on this car!Of course we couldn’t keep quiet about it, we’ve already approached the radio station and discussed the implications of using such ads to road safety. Please keep an eye on these kinds of ads: they are everywhere, but they don’t mean what they say!

Oh, and I haven’t told you that YOURS is coming to Nairobi-Kenya again for its youth capacity building programme: shhhhss…come down, ok…live updates will be on YOURS Social Media Platforms. #STAYSAFEINNOVEMBER

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Read about the YOURS Capacity Programme taking place in Kenya next week!




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YOURS Training of Facilitators - Nairobi, Kenya