By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kampala, Uganda: On Friday, Uganda’s Minister for Works and Transport, Hon. General Katumba Wamala has lauded the fundamental work executed through a partnership of Prudential Uganda and Uganda Red Cross Society for equipping Boda-boda riders within the Kampala Metropolitan Area with road safety and first aid tips through ‘SAFE STEPS’ road safety campaign
Helmets given to boda boda riders. Photo by Uganda Red Cross Society.
He said, the campaign is in line with the (National Road Safety Action Plan 2021/22 – 2025/26)– a guiding tool geared at contributing to the prevention and reduction of road crashes by 25%.
“Statistics indicate that the number of crashes and crash fatalities on Ugandan roads remain unacceptably high, with an estimated number of 12,589 and 4,159 respectively according to the 2021 Annual Crime and Traffic/Road Safety report by Uganda Police Force in 2021”. Said Gen. Katumba.
“These statistics highlight the need to heighten awareness and education on road safety through campaigns such as the SAFE STEPS initiative which go a long way in ensuring that motorcyclists, whose largest percentage are boda-boda riders take road safety with the magnitude it deserves,” He added.
Important to note.
SAFE STEPS road safety is a campaign funded by Prudential Uganda, implemented by Uganda Red Cross Society that started on 1st September 2023.
Over 4,000 Boda Boda riders in both road safety and first aid within Kampala Metropolitan Area (KMA) covering the 5 Divisions of Central, Makindye, Rubaga, Nakawa, Kawempe along with Wakiso, Entebbe and Mukono.
The campaign was primarily aimed at promoting road safety, first aid, behavioural change and awareness among Boda Boda riders within KMA alongside dissemination of 60-second public service announcement videos and educational posters featuring SAFE STEPS Road Safety Africa Ambassador Didier Drogba who advises on key road safety topics such as drunk driving, distracted driving, use of seat belts, respecting speed limits, motorcycles and pedestrians.
Statistics indicate that about 1.35 million people are killed on the roads every year, including 500 children every day globally.
It is recorded that Africa has the highest road fatality rate in the world and 44 percent of road traffic deaths are pedestrians and cyclists. Although Africa has only 2 percent of the world’s cars, the continent accounts for 20 percent of road deaths worldwide.
Secretary General, Uganda Red Cross Society – Kwesiga Robert appreciated Prudential Uganda for successfully completing Phase I of the SAFE STEPS campaign in Uganda through which boda- boda riders who are embedded in Uganda’s ecosystem have been sensitized on road safety and first aid.
Secretary General, Uganda Red Cross Society addresses press – Kwesiga Robert. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa
Speaking at the Grand Finale of ‘SAFE STEPS’ Campaign, Robert Kwesiga- the Secretary General of Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) stressed that the society is committed to road safety and recognize the rapid escalation of Uganda’s road safety crisis.
He said, ‘Since 2019, URCS has been implementing a response to Public Health Emergencies program funded by the Government of Uganda through Ministry of Health aimed at improving emergency medical services along major highways by providing timely response to casualties of Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) by operating a fleet of 21 Ambulances’.
He there affirmed that Prudential Uganda’s partnership with URCS through the SAFE STEPS campaign is accelerating the URCS’ mandate to save lives.”
Mr. Kwesiga expressed that Boda Boda riders who have been undergoing training are showing positive indicators of being change agents as well as sensitizing others.
To Tetteh Ayitevie, the Chief Executive Officer Prudential Uganda, the SAFE STEPS campaign aimed at raising awareness and provide easy-to-understand educational information on road safety which extended to Uganda having been successful in Ivory Coast and Kenya.
Tetteh Ayitevie, the Chief Executive Officer Prudential Uganda. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
“The campaign in Uganda enhanced road safety skills acquisition among Boda – Boda riders within the Kampala Metropolitan Area through skills-based Road safety and First Aid trainings, increasing the level of usage of basic protective gear and heightening road safety awareness among the boda-boda cyclists, passengers and the general public.” Said Tetteh.
He promised that as Prudential Uganda, they will be in position to continue SAFE STEPS again this 2023 and will spread to more districts beyond Kampala Metropolitan Area.
Asked whether their involvement is related to insurance, Tetteh said that ‘this is a public safety concern and as Prudential Uganda, we value human lives first before business’.
Speaking to journalists at the sidelines of the event, stated that the ‘SAFE STEPS’ campaign will be of great importance in changing the ways Boda Boda riders have been living with while doing their work.
ASP Faridah Nampiima, the Uganda Traffic Police Spokesperson. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
“It is evident that most of them have started understanding and implementing tips acquired from the training as some of them are donning in reflector jackets and helmets- which ensures their safety”. Said ASP Nampiima.
“It is most important for them to have this training because even if we arrest them when they don’t why we have done so, still it will not help but through this, they will be able to adhere to what they have been equipped with”. She added.
She stressed that the difference between boda boda and other vehicles is that in case of an accident, it is the body of the rider that gets into direct contact with the other vehicle or object and that is the reason as to why it was vital for them to further understand why they should have helmets on their head.
More about the training.
These trainings were conducted between 3 to 5 days per session. In addition, more members of the general public and boda boda riders were reached through the media.
The trained boda-boda riders received certificates, helmets, reflector jackets and an I-commit sticker that declares road safety principles that they pledge to follow while each boda-boda stage with trained riders will also receive a first aid kit to support during road traffic emergencies.