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.
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?”
“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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
They emphasize mainly in prevention simply by trying to stop injuries before they happen.
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.
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…”
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.
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.
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.
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.