More Children (5-14) die from TRAFFIC INJURIES than Malaria and AIDS

At Nyerere International Airport in Dar es salaam, Tanzania, Thursday 26, the newly approved Leader of Opposition, Nandala Mafabi, just like me, was an ordinary citizen trying to get his passport stamped.

A woman is seen through a damaged door in Ngeta, Dar es salaam

A woman is seen through a damaged door in Ngeta, Dar es salaam

He went through all the security checkpoints with a cool head.  Being a ‘small guy,’ it would take a keen eye to notice his presence.

I remember the security lady asking him at the final checkpoint. “Do you have a laptop in here?”

Greens pounded for cooking in a Dar es salaam suburb

Greens pounded for cooking in a Dar es salaam suburb

“No” was his reply with a slight node. In a grey jacket, he took off his wallet, watch, and shoes before going through the scanning machine.

Annnnnd no beep! Mafabi was now all set to board Air Uganda’s 17:05pm Entebbe bound flight, which was eventually delayed by a further 30 minutes.

Collecting white sand at the shores of the Indian Ocean

Collecting white sand at the shores of the Indian Ocean

On board, Mafabi sat on 8F, an arms stretch from 9A where I was seated. He kept to himself throughout the 1:35 minute flight, occasionally closing his eyes in thought.

Kariako Night Sky-Dar es salaam

Kariako Night Sky-Dar es salaam

On arrival at Entebbe, there was a line of passengers who had just alighted South African Airways too. The line was thus long, stretching up to more than 30 people.

Doing laundry in Ngeta suburb of Dar es salaam

Doing laundry in Ngeta suburb of Dar es salaam

The Sironko MP came last, just behind me. With his travel bag, he was not bothered at all to wait. But that didn’t take long before a CAA staff I assume came and told him politely; “Sir you are not supposed to stand on the line. Come with me.”

The AMEND scientific research team draw out plans in Ngeta

The AMEND scientific research team draw out plans in Ngeta

“Oh. Sure?” Mafabi replied with a weight of surprise cast on his facial expression. You would not blame him considering the way the opposition has been treated lately.

Hide and seek in Dar es salaam suburb

Hide and seek in Dar es salaam suburb

A South African lady complained why this man was jumping the line before someone courteously whispered to her:

“That’s Uganda’s ‘Prime Minister.’ ‘Ooh..Ok!’ she politely answered in submission.

AMEND Tanzania.

Away from Mafabi, I was in Dar salaam on the invitation of AMEND to shoot some of their projects. AMEND is an organization that focuses on the neglected epidemic of childhood traffic injury in Africa.

A school girl curiously looks through a gate in Ngeta, Dar es salaam

A school girl curiously looks through a gate in Ngeta, Dar es salaam

They emphasize mainly in prevention simply by trying to stop injuries before they happen.

A mother being asked about her family's road safety incidents

A mother being asked about her family's road safety incidents

In the developing world, road traffic injuries are the number one cause of death and disability for children between the ages of 5 and 21. In some age groups the deaths outpace those from diseases like AIDS and malaria and yet those receive far more attention and funding.

A wooden demonstration car in a class room in Mtoni primary school

A wooden demonstration car in a class room in Mtoni primary school

According to the World Bank;

“Every year, more than 1.17 million people die in road crashes around the world. The majority of these deaths, about 70 percent occur in developing countries. Sixty-five percent of deaths involve pedestrians and 35 percent of pedestrian deaths are children. Over 10 million are crippled or injured each year. It has been estimated that at least 6 million more will die and 60 million will be injured during the next 10 years in developing countries unless urgent action is taken…”

Attending a road safety class at Mtoni Primary School

Attending a road safety class at Mtoni Primary School

Throughout Africa, economic growth has put even more motor vehicles on the roads, but has not supplied the infrastructure to support them. School schedules are such that many children are forced to walk to and from school in the dark.

Preparing to cross a road in Mtoni, Dar es salaam suburb

Preparing to cross a road in Mtoni, a Dar es salaam suburb

AMEND's Ramathan Nyanza, gives some of the road safety tips to school children of Mtoni

AMEND's Ramathan Nyanza, gives some of the road safety tips to school children of Mtoni

And, again, most children are not taught simple road safety. All of this has resulted in a traffic injury epidemic in Africa, where 1 in 100 children will die from traffic injury before their 15th birthday.

A class attends a road safety lesson at Mtoni Kijinji Primary School

A class attends a road safety lesson at Mtoni Kijinji Primary School

As part of their preventive measures, AMEND launched the “See and Be Seen initiative”. The organization is among the few working on the prevention of childhood injury in the developing world, and one of only a handful confronting traffic injury. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that “the interventions promoted by AMEND, such as the See and Be Seen program, are perfectly in line” with those being promoted by the WHO.

Mothers being interviewed by AMEND research assistants in Ngeta suburbs of Dar es salaam

Mothers being interviewed by AMEND research assistants in Ngeta suburbs of Dar es salaam

As such, my role was to record imagery that represents some of the flagship programs of AMEND among which included; Primary school road safety and instructions, advocacy, social marketing of the reflector-enhanced schoolbags and scientific research.

School boy walks back home in Mtoni, Dar es salaam

School boy walks back home with a reflector bag in Mtoni, Dar es salaam

 

 

2 thoughts on “More Children (5-14) die from TRAFFIC INJURIES than Malaria and AIDS

  1. Having just witnessed a child tragically hit at great speed by a car in Dar Es Salaam, I would like to know what action can be taken to petition for bridges, etc for pedestrians, as in many areas there is no way to cross the busy highways other than running across four lanes of traffic.

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