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08.05.2019 Academic Article

Road Traffic Accidents In Ghana; The Unspoken Truth

By Alimatu Suleman Issifu
Road Traffic Accidents In Ghana; The Unspoken Truth

Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) literally means accidents on the roads.

Globally, 1.4 million people are killed in RTAs every year and about 20 million to 50 million people are injured or disabled due to RTAs. It has been estimated that RTAs will rank third (3rd) of all causes of morbidity and mortality globally by the year 2020 with a very huge economic impact or burden (Coleman, A. 2014).

This article seeks to suggest that the increasing RTAs with associated morbidity and mortality in Ghana need to be looked at more as a public health problem and priority.

RTAs affect populations all over the world. Several factors have been enumerated as the causes including the following;

1) Human or driver errors including non-adherence to road signs.

2) Poor road maintenance and traffic regulations.
3) Driving under the influence of drugs including alcohol.

4) Poor traffic infrastructure including engineering design.

5) Faulty automobile.
6) Making and or answering phone calls whiles driving.

7) Exceeding the accepted limit of loading various vehicles. Etc.

8) Absence of street lightening.
9) Wrongful over-taking.
10) Absence of safe crossing facilities for pedestrians such as footbridges.

Ghana is not an exception as far as RTAs are concerned and has accrued alarming statistics over the years. The increasing spate of RTA in Ghana has claimed the lives of 46,284 people in twenty-seven years.

Data from Motor Traffic and Transport department (MTTD) IN Ghana revealed that 2,084 lives were claimed through RTAs in 2016. A year on (2017) another alarming numbers of 2,076 lives were claimed through RTAs and in 2018, 2,341 lives were claimed.

The above three year trend is devoid of those who were severely injured and left disabled probably for the rest of their lives. It is obvious that if nothing is done the numbers are likely to increase in the subsequent years. Several road safety campaigns have been rolled out in order to address the menace of RTAs yet the number keeps increasing.

Accidents exert both high social and economic cost on the society. RTA now a major public health issue is competing with other health sector priority interventions such as communicable diseases that have been traditional favorites of many globally funded programs over the years.

Aside the afore mentioned, RTAs have deprived several homes of their bread winners which has led to school drop outs some victims who survived these accidents have been left traumatized and have been unable to pick the pieces of their lives.

Head-on collision has been one of the major causes of RTAs especially on major and busy roads in the country. It is obvious that not much has been done about the same roads used by fewer vehicles years ago.

It is so sad that a country like Ghana cannot boast of a dual carriage road linking all of its regional capitals. The construction of dual carriage roads in addition to the other road safety strategies will go a long way to reduce RTA cases by 50%.

In conclusion, it is imperative that policy makers, Governments, public health practitioners and indeed stakeholders begin to formulate relevant control policies backed with enforceable regulations that attract the needed national attention, voice and funding.

By: Alimatu Suleman Issifu
BSc. Physician Assistant Student
University of Cape coast

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."