Ghana making progress in improving child road safety

Accra Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, the Director-General of the National Road Safety Authority, has said the country has made progress in improving child safety on the roads due to the various interventions by government and partners.

She said statistics had shown a steady improvement, over the years, calling on all stakeholders, motorists and pedestrians to observe road traffic regulations to ensure safety.

“For instance, in 2000, child fatalities constituted 21.3 per cent of all fatalities in Ghana. This improved to 17.8 per cent in 2010 with a total of 353 child fatalities out of 1,986 persons killed,” she said.

“Currently, the situation has improved as we recorded 221 child fatalities representing 10.9 per cent out of the 2,020 in the year 2018.”

Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said this at the inauguration of a road safety infrastructure at the Oblogo Cluster of Schools.

The infrastructure included two speed humps and pedestrian crossings, walkways, crash barrier, school zone sign, 30km/hr speed limit and warning signs.

The project was undertaken by AMEND Ghana, a child safety organisation, through their partner institutions; FIA Foundation and Child Health Initiative, under the auspices of the National Road Safety Authority.

Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said the Authority had implemented some initiatives including the mounting of lollipop stands and developing educational materials for children.

She said the lollipop stands was targeted at assisting school children in crossing the road safely, while reducing the conflict that normally occurred between vehicles and pedestrians.

“They serve as speed control measures when approaching pedestrian crossings and give pedestrians, especially school children, some level of legitimacy as road users,” she said.

She called on the public to make road safety message a household one, saying it was a shared responsibility.

Mrs Ayikai Poswayo, the Programmes Director of AMEND Ghana, said the project was part of the School Area Road Safety Assessment and Improvements (SARSAI) initiative to make journeys to and from school safe for all children.

She said the organisation chose the school because there was a recent case of a pupil who was knocked down while crossing the road, as well as two others knocked down some few years ago, while vehicles had ‘crashed’ onto the school’s compound.

Mrs Poswayo said child pedestrians were among the highest-risk groups in Ghana for road traffic injury, adding that a child in Africa was twice likely susceptible to fatalities on roads compared to a child in any other region of the world.

“Fortunately, the ways to prevent these injuries are well understood, and include separating children from traffic and slowing vehicle speeds where children and traffic interact,” she added.

She said they had plans on providing similar road safety infrastructure for other basic schools in the country, adding that there was more to be done to ensure that all Ghanaian children were safe to and from school.

The pupils were taken through practices such as walking briskly while crossing the road, to see and be seen before crossing, crossing the road in a straight line, using zebra crossings and looking left, right and left again before they cross.

The event was witnessed by Mrs Tina Naa Ayele Mensah, Member of Parliament for Weija-Gbawe, Mr Patrick Kumor, Weija-Gbawe Municipal Chief Executive, Nii Oblogo Tetteh, Chief of Oblogo, and teachers and students of Oblogo Cluster of Schools, among others.

Source: Ghana News Agency