Trauma, Injuries and Disability (TRIAD) Unit trains Ugandan Journalists on Road Safety
Globally, approximately 1.35 million people die each year on the world’s roads, and between approximately 50 million sustain serious injuries.
Of these, pedestrians continue to suffer the biggest burden of road traffic death according to the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety.
Despite this fact, efforts around promoting road safety among road users remain minimal in Uganda. Journalists play a key role in promoting road safety; they can advocate for political will to tackle the issue as well as specific measures towards better laws, safer roads, and more responsible road use behaviour.
Motivated by the need to change statusquo, Trauma, Injuries and Disability (TRIAD) Unit housed under Makerere University School of Public Health from 26-28, May 2021 organised a three-day “Media Road Safety Workshop” at the Hotel Africana, Kampala in Uganda. The Purpose was to skill journalists on better road traffic crash reporting to influence policy and practice in Uganda.
Speaking at Media Road Safety Workshop, Dr Olive Kobusingye-chair –Road Traffic Injury Research Network noted that TRIAD was motivated by the need to change the nature of reporting around road traffic and injuries
‘’We have realized that most of the times ,the nature of reporting does not promote road safety. it tends to be shallow .it rarely brings out issues related to multi-sectoral approach but instead focuses on police only .through this training, we emphasized using credible data sources like research ,Ministry of Works and Transport,UNRA,KCCA , insurance among others.
We hope they will be able to do more impactful stories since they learnt how to source for road traffic data and how to pitch stories ’’Dr.Kobusingye noted..
On media role in curbing road fatalities ,Dr.Kobusingye said ’quite often researchers put out research papers which are not digested for public consumption but with journalists, these research outputs can be communicated to different audiences to reduce fatalities and injuries on the road .
In terms of global burdens of Road Traffic ,Dr.Kobusingye who is also the head of TRIAD noted that 90% of all Road Traffic deaths occur in Low and Middle Income Countries adding that for every death, there are several injuries including permanent injuries
As part of addressing these global burdens, Dr.Kobusingye in her presentation detailing the African Action Plan for 2021-2030 Decade of Action on Road Safety, revealed that ‘’The 2030 agenda Sustainable For Sustainable Development has set up an ambitious target of halving the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes’’.
To achieve the Road Safety under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs ), Dr.Olive highlighted the need for focus on key priority areas like political commitment, involvement, focus on non-motorized transport, need for law and enforcement and vehicle standards action by different member states.
Topics discussed during this training include ; Road Safety in Uganda, Road Safety legislation ,Road Safety Reporting ,Road Safety Data Sources, Vehicle Safety and its relation to Road Safety and Why road safety for journalists , Linkage between road safety and pollution (Experiences from lockdown and Story Pitches among others. At the training, it was revealed that MakSPH’s TRIAD Unit will be forming a road safety network to enhance a multi-sectoral approach to the Road Safety Agenda .