Needless motorway deaths

As accident victims on the Accra-Tema motorway continue to die needlessly, Ghana Red Cross Emergency Response First Aid Post at the Accra end of the motorway to provide first aid care to accident victims is seriously under resourced making it unable to function effectively as expected. Basic materials such as cotton wool, hand gloves and bandages needed to effectively give care to victims in short supply at the facility. Sometimes management of the facility is unable to fuel an ambulance which they use in conveying accident victims to hospitals. On some occasion, the facility is locked up due to lack of funds to aid their operations.

Mr. Francis Obeng, National First Aid Coordinator at the Facility noted that ideally the facility is expected to run for 24hours seven days a week but they are unable to do so due to unavailability of funds to take on more personnel to run a shift system. He has said that the facility needed a minimum of eight volunteers to be able to operate for 24hours but currently has six due to lack of funds to pay allowances of additional volunteers. Each volunteer is paid a monthly allowance of GHȻ300.00. Because of this we are just using volunteers who are close by so they can reduce their transport fare to work. The allowances given them are inadequate to even motivate other volunteers to come on board, he noted. The facility is also not connected to the national grid which makes it difficult for them to operate at night.

As a result, the facility opens at 9am and closes at 4pm, meaning any emergency situation after this period is left to untrained hands to handle. Sometimes the volunteers become handicapped if a situation requires the use of cold compressors on accident victims before taking them to the hospital because they do not have light and refrigerator. We have contacted the Electricity Company of Ghana and we need just aboutGHȻ2,000.00 to connected he said.

About six accident can be recorded on the motorway in a day especially on rainy days; a situation which the facility is unable to handle effectively due to the challenges facing it. He mentioned in particular that last week when a Metro Mass bus was involved in an accident on the motorway the facility was overwhelmed because they did not have the personnel and logistics to effectively deal with the situation. He also mentioned poor networks services provided by the various telecom operators who have dedicated emergency numbers to vital institutions such as the fire service and the ambulance services. He mentioned that most often, in an emergency situation, a call to the ambulance services to come to their aid never gets through. It is estimated that about 60 percent of accident victims in Ghana die on their way to the hospital mainly due to the manner they are handled during the rescue period and lack of proper first aid care site of the accident.

For most of these accident victims, their golden period the period between the accident and the time they receive first aid care it last for a maximum of ten minutes within which the person may lose his life or suffer permanent damage if they do not receive first aid care. For some people, it is just ten minutes, if the victim misses that ten minutes he or she may die. Some may be sixty minutes which we call the golden hour- so depending on the severity of the injury if a person misses that golden period the chance of survival is low”. For some accident victims, all they need at the accident scene is for someone to tilt their head the right way to prevent their tongues from chocking them to death this needs basic training in administering first aid to do.

Ghana Red Cross Society is therefore appealing to corporate institutions to come to the aid of the facility with basic first aid materials to enable it run efficiently.

Credit: Weekend Finder.

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