A distressing number of road accidents involving pupils have been reported at Kitante primary school, leaving at least 18 children injured last term, according to Jane Mugisha Kyakuwa, the school’s head teacher.
Kyakuwa revealed that most of the accidents occurred when children were crossing the road during peak hours in the morning and evening.
The head teacher attributed these incidents to drivers and motorcyclists who disregard the safety rights of children.
“Some of our children are still undergoing treatment in hospitals for injuries sustained last term. With over 3,000 pupils, it is challenging for them to safely cross this road. Drivers and motorcyclists show a disregard for children’s safety, even at designated zebra crossing points,” Kyakuwa expressed her concern.
These remarks were made during a children’s road safety sensitization event organized by Hope for Victims of Traffic Accidents (HOVITA) and Uganda Road Accident Reduction Network Organisation (URRENO) as part of the activities commemorating the United Nations Global Road Safety Week.
Shockingly, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that over 1.38 million people lose their lives in road crashes annually, with more than 50 million sustaining severe injuries worldwide.
Furthermore, the data highlights that a significant number of road accident victims fall within the age group of five to 29 years. In Uganda, the 2022 traffic report indicates an alarming statistic of 12 daily deaths due to road crashes.
The number of fatalities and injuries on Ugandan roads has been consistently increasing each year. These concerning statistics served as the foundation for this year’s theme, “Rethink Mobility,” chosen by WHO and the UN, urging governments to prioritize the safety of vulnerable road users, including children, the elderly, people with disabilities, cyclists, pedestrians, and public transport users.
Kyakuwa emphasized the urgent need for the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), responsible for Kitante primary school, to install large signposts to alert drivers of the presence of a school and encourage them to reduce their speed.
Freddie Kiapi, the HOVITA project manager, and Fred Tumwine, the chairman of ROSACU, called upon urban authorities, local governments, and other stakeholders to develop policies mandating drivers to adhere to a maximum speed limit of 30km/h in all school zones.
“We cannot continue witnessing the loss of children and young people on our roads when there are measures we can take to prevent this. Enforcing a maximum speed limit of 30km/h in all school zones would significantly reduce road fatalities and injuries,” emphasized Kiapi.
Maria Nansasi Nkalubo, the focal point person for Trauma and Injury at the ministry of Health, shed light on the significant financial burden caused by severe road injuries, with the government spending a minimum of Shs 3.6 million on each victim.
“At times, the treatment cost for a single road accident victim exceeds Shs 10 million, especially in cases requiring head operations. This amount could cover the treatment of more than 10 patients with common infections. We must strive to reduce road injuries and allocate funds to other essential activities,” stressed Nkalubo.
During the last term, the traffic police recorded numerous road crashes involving children in various districts, including Kampala, Wakiso, Kassanda, Mpigi, and Mbale. Tragically, four students lost their lives in Mpigi after being struck by a vehicle while inside a classroom.
Additionally, three students were hit in Kassanda, and three others sustained fatal injuries in a truck accident in Mbale. These incidents highlight the urgent need for enhanced road safety measures and increased vigilance to protect the lives of young road users.
Source: The Observer