Three organisations have joined forces to launch a three-year road safety programme in selected schools in the country to secure the safety of children as they walk to and from school on a daily basis.
They are Amend-Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that focuses on road safety, the Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA) Foundation and Puma Energy Foundation.
The programme, which is to implement and advocate proven and effective road safety measures around schools to prevent children from being killed and injured by moving vehicles, has been endorsed by the National Road Safety Commission and the Ghana Education Service.
At the launch of the project at the Richard Akwei Memorial School at Agbobloshi in Accra, the Executive Director of Amend, Mr Jeffrey Witte, said child pedestrians were among the highest risk groups in Ghana.
He said the NGO’s mission was, therefore, to develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions to reduce the incidence of road traffic injury among the most vulnerable road users in Africa, especially children.
According to him, the three-year programme would provide simple and targeted infrastructure measures such as footpaths, speed humps, bollards and zebra crossings to reduce speeding of vehicles.
He said some of those initiatives, although expensive, could be adopted by government to ensure that every child of school-going age was protected.
He, therefore, called for political will in promoting road safety among schoolchildren in the country, which he noted would reduce the number of children who died on the roads.
Mr Witte said Amend, in partnership with the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, conducted a multi-year population-based control impact evaluation of the programme in Tanzania and found that the programme had reduced injury rates by 26 per cent and lessened the severity of the injuries that did occur.
PUMA Energy Foundation
In a speech delivered on his behalf by the Regional Head of Corporate Affairs for PUMA Energy Foundation Africa, Ms Zohra McDoolley Aimone, the organisation’s Chief Executive Director, Mr Vincent Faber, said PUMA was committed to improving the safety of Africa’s children on the roads.
He added that they had been engaged in a determined campaign to roll out a road safety awareness education to primary school children across the Africa region.
As part of the programme, Amend had provided the Richard Akwei Memorial School, which is by the roadside, with footpaths, speed humps, billboards and zebra crossings.
Lauding the initiative, the Headmistress of the school, Ms Emelia Larbi, said a number of the schoolchildren had been knocked down by vehicles while crossing the road to the school.
She was, therefore, happy that the initiative by Amend would help solve their problem.