Driving around Nairobi is quite a headache, with everyone in a rush, to get to their destinations in good time. Nairobi is home to 3.2 million people and with the population continuously growing along with urbanization and increased motorization and population, the city is among the most congested cities in the world. In 2019 the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority ranked Nairobi as the fourth most congested city in the world.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Global Status Report on Road Safety, between 3,000 and 13,000 Kenyans lose their lives in road traffic crashes every year. The majority of these people are vulnerable road users – pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists. The report further shows that road traffic deaths are severe on vulnerable road users, pedestrians, cyclists, and riders of motorbikes and their passengers and account for a staggering 46 percent of global traffic deaths (World Health Organization, 2018).
The Kenya National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) statistics for the period of January 2020 to December 2020 show an increase in fatalities to 9.4 percent compared to a similar period the previous year. The Authority noted that road safety presented significant challenges with human errors such as speeding, reckless driving, dangerous overtaking, drunk driving, drunk walking, drunk riding, failure to use helmets, being the main contributors of road accidents (NTSA 2020).
This week, the world has been celebrating the UN Global Road Safety Awareness Week. This year’s slogan, Streets for Life, is a call for 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limits as the norm for cities, towns, and villages worldwide.
Strathmore University in partnership with the University of Southampton, the Kenya National Transport and Safety Authority, and other international partners with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) the UK, funded Global Health Research Group (GHRG) on road safety carried out a research project to examine the barriers and constraints to reducing the current high mortality from road accidents in Kenya. This project has been running since 2017.
The project, dubbed the Socio-Technical Approaches to Road Safety (STARS) project, focused on not only the socio-technical approaches but also on the seven contributory factors to achieving road safety in Kenya; the 7 E’s: Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Ergonomics, Economy, Enablement, Emergency. These are in line with the National Transport and Safety Authority’s (NTSA) 5 pillars of road safety.
The project would discuss in an in-depth model, the role of research in overcoming the barriers impeding Kenya in its strides towards road safety. It would also provide a forum for the stakeholder community to learn how other countries are addressing similar challenges. The research project’s common global lens was the wanting road safety issues in Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, and Kenya.
Speaking about the project, Prof. Gilbert Kokwaro, Professor of Health Systems Research and the Director of the Institute of Healthcare Management at Strathmore University Business School noted that the ‘STARS Project’ followed a different scientific route as it sought to impact the road transport system.
The STARS Project acquired a state-of-the-art driving and road simulator designed by a French company that would not only allow them to recreate a section of or an entire road in its current state, but one that would also facilitate accurate redesigns of the road with road safety features such as traffic lights, speed bumps, and markings.
James Oyoo, the Technical Lead of the simulator at Strathmore University. Describes this simulator as; “the only-of-its-kind versatile technological equipment in Africa with a range of capabilities mimics in impeccable detail, roads and road users’ behavior and generates a report that goes a long way in informing road safety strategies.”
About the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM)
The healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing and dynamic sectors in the world. Thus healthcare providers must also be able to understand and evaluate new dynamics such as heath manager organizations, rapid advancement in the medical and information technology, increased competition and growing demands for greater transparency from patients.
The SBS Institute of Healthcare Management is dedicated to carry out healthcare research projects that contribute to the improvement of the healthcare industry not only in Kenya but Africa and beyond.
- World Health Organization. (2018). Global status report on road safety 2018. [Online]. https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_safety_status/2018/en/ [Google Scholar]
Article by Juliet Hinga
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