Photo by Alex Esagala. extracted from Daily Monitor
By Agatha N Biira
On September 10, Catherine Alowo received a call at 9:40am from Sanyu FM’s Roger Mugisha, asking her to go for an interview at 10:30am. She wondered how she would make it to Kampala from Mukono nbefore that time.
So, she rushed and jumped on a “boda-boda” to Kampala. As they were approaching Seeta, the motorcyclist tried to maneuver through traffic jam but they were knocked off the road by a taxi and fell into a trench near Seeta High School.
Alowo injured her back and sprained her right ankle. “I also got a deep cut at the back of my left knee that cut into my veins. I bled a lot and was admitted to hospital,” Alowo said.
Alowo talking about how the road crash changed her perspective on road use
Being a dancer, Alowo has not been able to go back to the dance floor for close to two months now. “I have been dancing for a long time but, that incident has kept me off the stage. I am still in the healing process,” she said. “I can’t move my feet like I used to or even perform certain strokes.”
Movements on campus have not been easy for her either. “I find it very hard to walk long distances. 1-3km in and I need to rest because my leg is hurting and my back is strained. I have to go for massage every week,” she added.
Alowo is one of the hundreds of people that get involved in road crashes each month. The Police report indicates that 1,378 crashes were registered from October 1 to 29 on different roads across the country. There were 1,232 crash victims and out of these, 257 people died and 975 were injured.
Table showing number of road traffic crashes over the past five years according to Uganda Police
Solomon Alele, the Assistant Superintendent of Police in charge of traffic in Mukono says the common causes of road crashes are reckless driving, over speeding, impatient drivers, driving under the influence of alcohol and drivers on phone. “You find drivers overtaking at a corner where they are unable to see who is coming from the other side. This driver overtaking ends up colliding with the other one that has right of way,” he said.
Most of these road crash victims end up admitted at Mulago National Referral Hospital. According to the cost care analysis by the Ministry of Health, the government spends Shs.3.6m on a critically ill patient per day at the hospital. This cost rises to Shs.13.6m for those that require surgeries.
Paul Kibuuka, a doctor at Mukono General Hospital said they mainly give first aid to road crash victims and then refer them to Mulago Hospital. “We majorly handle victims of minor crashes. We do not have facilities here that cater for emergencies,” he added.
Samuel Baraka, a doctor at Mukono Church of Uganda Hospital said treatment of road crash victims can cost a minimum of Shs. 600,000 per patient. “It being a private facility, patients cater for what they get and if they cannot afford, they are referred to Mulago Hospital,” he said.
Alele talking about what the Police is doing to ensure road safety in Mukono district
Alele appealed to passengers to know their rights and stand up to riders and drivers when they over speed on the road. “Some people just want to get to their destination regardless of how they are being ridden or driven,” he added.
He also advised motorists to be mindful of their speed while on the road.