Govt should coordinate NGOs' road safety efforts

TraumaLink's discussion told

The government needs to lead the coordination of separate efforts of non-government organisations (NGOs) to ensure road safety, speakers told a discussion yesterday.

Citing the work of a number of NGOs including TraumaLink, which gives emergency medical services to road accident survivors, they said such measures could be replicated all over the country if the government took the initiatives.

However, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader emphasised the change of attitude to solve the problems of unsafe driving and ensure traffic jam-free roads.

He spoke as chief guest at the discussion on the role of government and non-government organisations in ensuring road safety, organised by TraumaLink at the capital's Jatiya Press Club. 

"How can I stop parking of cars here and there on the roads or check reckless driving?" the minister said, adding that he could not guarantee that the roads would be totally hassle-free during the Eid rush because of these factors.

Ilias Kanchan, chairman of Nirapad Sarak Chai, said the government needed to create a department or committee which would include all relevant ministries to come up with a holistic solution for road safety.

Chairing the programme, columnist Syed Abul Maksud stressed the need for creating awareness among people.

Jon Moussally, founder and president of TraumaLink, said his organisation trained 104 volunteers from the areas along around 15km of the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway from Daudkandi bus stand to Putia, to help accident victims with immediate and emergency medical needs.

The organisation also came up with a hotline, which a victim or any witness or bystander can call and ask for help.

Moussally, himself an emergency physician working at the Massachusetts General Hospital, started this pilot project in November 2014, spending out of his own pocket. Later, other local organisations including the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) joined his effort.

Representatives of the other organisations present at the meeting pointed out the problems including corruption, untrained and overworked drivers, under-utilised rail and water ways, and a lack of well-equipped hospitals, trauma centres, and ambulances.


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