By Binta S Jawo,
On Saturday 1st October 2022, the Population and Development Advocacy Group (PDAG) an Association in The Gambia engaged various stakeholders in a dialogue concerning Road Traffic Accidents at The Gambia College campus in Brikama. The various stakeholders at the meeting were from the Gambia College, the University of The Gambia, Drivers, The Gambia Transport Union and the Media.
Meanwhile, in an earlier engagement, the National Assembly member for Nianija, Hon Amadou Camara, raised a motion calling for the “Standing Committee of Defence and Security of this august Assembly to initiate a parliamentary inquiry” into the increasing road accidents in the country. Hon Camara also urged “the Minister for Interior to look into the issue of road traffic accidents with a view of instituting stringent measures of mitigating it”.
In his argument, Hon Camara enthused that “identifying the drivers as the lead causes of these accidents may be acceptable but the authorities especially the police have a role to play in mitigating these factors”. According to the Hon member “statistics have revealed that in 2020 and 2021 the country has officially recorded 787 and 971 road traffic accidents respectively. This shows an increase in the number of accidents from 2020 to 2021. What is more alarming, Hon. Speaker is that the first quarter of 2022 only, has registered 382 road traffic accidents”.
Going by 2022 first quarter statistics Hon Camara predicts that “if the trend continues, by end of the year 2022 we may register close to 1,500 accidents”. Our reporter questioned Hon Camara to detail his source of statistics which he explained were from the Gambia Police Force.
169 Accidents Recorded at Bwiam General Hospital in 2021
Speaking on behalf of the Governor Amadi Sowe highlighted that he was honoured to represent the Governor in a very important gathering because the rise in Road Traffic Accidents in The Gambia is a call for concern. He urged everyone to make it their business to reduce if not eradicate Road Traffic Accidents.
Mr Sowe added that road traffic accidents have claimed the lives of very productive people to the nation’s development. He concluded by appealing to Drivers to make sure that they conduct routine maintenance of their vehicles, stop over-speeding and obey all traffic sign boards and laws of the land.
Speaking on behalf of Dr Mamady Cham (PhD) the Ex-CEO of Bwiam General Hospital, Dr Kitabu Jammeh told the audience at the stakeholder engagement, revealed that most of the accidents occur in the Foni Region. Dr Jammeh highlighted that the statistics from Bwiam General Hospital indicate that in 2021 over 169 accidents had a fatality rate of 3.6% meaning 15 people died from Road Traffic Accidents as recorded at Bwiam General Hospital alone.
Dr Jammeh also added that this is an increase from 103 accidents in 2019 to 169 accidents in 2021. The result of these accidents leaves numerous victims handicapped and forced to live the rest of their life with physical deformations.
Stakeholders were given the opportunity to clear doubts and ask questions. One of the observations made is that there is no psychosocial support available for Drivers in case they need it after being involved in an accident.