Strathmore Business School hosted the first national stakeholder workshop on road safety in respect to the realization of the UN General Assembly, Decades of Action, which commits to a reduction of 50% in road fatalities by 2020.
Strathmore Business School’s Institute of Healthcare Management is collaborating with the University of Southampton and other international partners within the National Institute of Health Research funded Global Health Research Group (GHRG) on Road Safety.
The workshop convened representatives of the relevant ministries, policymakers, private sector representatives, road safety advocacy groups, road safety regulations enforcement agencies, representatives from the road transport sector, and institutions of higher learning. Some of the participating Universities were from China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, United States, and Kenya.
The forum provided a unique opportunity for the stakeholders to examine common constraints and barriers likely to impede Kenya from reducing the current high mortality and morbidity from road traffic accidents.
In addition, the forum also provided an opportunity for the stakeholder community to learn how other countries are addressing similar challenges. The forum was organised as part of the activities of a multi-country project, ‘Sociotechnical approaches to road safety (STARS)’.
The workshop kicked off with welcoming remarks from Prof. Ismael Ateya, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Strathmore University. He urged the participants to take a participatory approach in gathering ideas which will reduce road safety concerns. He also acknowledged the participation of key government ministries and parastatals who were taking part in the workshop and committing to offer support on the implementation of the set proposed agendas.
“The National Road Safety Action Plan is ready and the authority is committed to ensure that the overarching goal of reducing road fatalities is attained by 2020,” said Jackson Waweru, National Transport and Safety Authority Board Chair. However, the Board Chair called for a multi-sectoral approach in achieving this, as well as a collaborative strategy.
Although much resources will be required to attain the objective, Mr. Waweru expressed interest in working with research institutions in coining training curriculums for road safety programmes and analysis of data.
According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 1.24 million people die every year due to road fatalities in the world. 20 – 50 million sustain non-fatal injuries because of road crashes. Road traffic injuries are estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death globally. Current trends suggest that road traffic injuries will become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030. This is a global problem.
Economically disadvantaged families are hardest hit by both direct medical costs and indirect costs such as low wages that result from these injuries. Road traffic injuries are estimated to cost low – and middle-income countries between 1 – 2 % of their gross national product.
Kenya incurres an annual loss of 5% of its GDP from road-related fatalities. The fatalities have remained constant at about 3,000 annually, while persons sustaining serious injuries were on the increase up to 2010, and have been on a decline since then. Further analysis of the data showed the annual number of accidents has been falling, mainly due to reduced number of slight accidents. This trend raises concerns about the accuracy and completeness of the crash data recorded by the police.
On average, drivers and motorcycle riders are the main persons responsible for most of the accidents; followed by pedestrians and pedal cyclists. Nairobi County contributes more than 20% of the road accidents. Most of the counties which have a higher death fatality are located along the Northern Corridor.