Ghana making progress in road safety – NRSC
May Obiri Yeboah, the Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), says Ghana has made commendable strides in the attainment of the targets under the National Road Safety Action Plans for 2015-2017.
Speaking at the opening of a stakeholders’ conference to assess the status of implementation of the Plan 2015-2017, under the National Road Safety Strategy III, she said the specific targets were, however, yet to be achieved despite the significant improvement in road safety.
The strategy, which was developed by the NRSC and its partners in 2011, is to cover 2011 to 2020, under the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety.
It was evaluated last year to see how it had fared in meeting the UN targets of stabilizing deaths and serious injuries as of 2015.
It aims at reducing deaths and serious injuries by 50 percent, by end of 2020. Mrs Obiri Yeboah said the conference was also aimed at evaluating the implementation of the 2026 action plan, strategize where necessary, identifying challenges and also finding ways of speeding up achievement of the targets.
She said Ghana topped 23 African countries that were reviewed as part of the United Nations Economic Commission review of countries’ implementation of action plans.
“We came out tops because we have done most of the things we said we would do in our action plans and they were impressed by it” she stated, adding it showed that Ghana was committed to road safety.
She said the NRSC had greatly improved its coordination of the various stakeholders, and had attracted countries such as Nigeria, Lesotho, Ethiopia and the Gambia to understudy the NRSC’s coordination of its road safety stakeholders.
She said although it had not met its annual targets, it had come quite close to doing so, a feat she described as unprecedented.
She said the number of deaths from road accidents had reduced since 2011.
“Child pedestrian deaths have gone down, deaths involving the heavy goods vehicles have gone down and general pedestrian deaths have also reduced”, she said.
She said the Commission had projected to keep traffic related deaths at a level not exceeding 1,440 this year.
“In September 2016, 1,579 deaths were reported, and that exceeded the yearly projected target by 15.7%. In the 3rd quarter, 9,205 road traffic crash cases were reported, involving 14,342 vehicles, 8,006 injuries with 2,086 pedestrian knock-downs,” she stated.
Mr. David Silcock, a Road safety Consultant with the World Bank, said the Bank was in discussions with the Government to provide additional funding for road safety and to renew the Ghsector Improvement Project.
He said the Bank’s support would be a mixture of both new and existing projects, with some in highway improvement, particularly, in the Northern Region.
There are also proposals on activities to promote child safety, including road safety education in schools, a lollipop crossing programme, as well as training for SHEP coordinators in the schools.
Stakeholders, including the National Ambulance Service, St. John’s Ambulance, the National Disaster Management Organisation, and the Ghana Red Cross Society, have also made strides in the implementation of their action plans.
These involve the training of emergency medical technicians, first aiders, education on road safety, setting up of ambulance posts, among others.
They, however, identified funding as a major constraint to the full implementation of their plans.