November 17, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Dr. Simeon Owizz Koroma, Sierra Leone’s only pathologist, has observed that government and societal response to post crash victims was very much insufficient.
He made the above observation yesterday at the British Council Auditorium, Tower Hill in Freetown, where he was doing a presentation on “Vital post -crash actions: medical care, investigation and justice” organised by the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA).
Dr. Koroma said road traffic crashes were sudden, violent, and traumatic events that caused a lot of grief and distress, especially when most of the victims were young people. He added that post -crash care was often neglected in national safety programmes due to poor coordination between transport, health agencies and Ministries.
“During road traffic crashes, death results from head injuries are 70 percent, multiple injuries and shock eight percent, chest injuries six percent and abdomino-pelvic injuries four percent. There is no emergency trauma hospital for trauma patients after road accidents from the provinces to Waterloo. By the time a trauma patient is taken to Connaught hospital in Freetown, the situation should have gone worst,” he said.
He added that post -crash response include emergency response, pre-hospital care, transport of victims, hospital care and rehabilitation.
He said as a forensic pathologist, his roles include establishing cause of accident, identification of skeletal remains, reconstruction of accident, and help prevent future accidents by identifying how the crash could have been avoided.
Dr. Sarah Bendu, Executive Director of SLRSA said the “World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims” was not a celebration, but rather a remembrance of victims of road traffic crashes.
She noted that some of the road accidents victims in the hospital might not return home the same, hence they should be remembered in prayers at all times.
“I thanked President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for giving us good roads, which is the third pillar of the ‘UN Decade of Action for Road Safety’ that talks about safer roads and mobility. We now need to judiciously implement the fifth pillar- the post-crash response, which the SLRSA has been popularising,” she said.
She recalled that in 2013, SLRSA developed the National Road Safety Strategy and that a lot of road safety issues were captured in that strategy, adding that they needed to invest in the road safety sector by bringing together expertise that would lead to zero road traffic crash in Sierra Leone.
She said other countries have emergency ambulance services to stabilise post -crash victims, and that such should be replicated in Sierra Leone.
She called on private individuals and doctors to willingly give their services to post crash victims, so as to save lives.