Many lives are lost due to cancer and other lifestyle diseases but the situation in Zambia is different.
During the Third National Road Safety Conference which was held in Lusaka, Zindaba Soko reported that after malaria and HIV/AIDS, traffic accidents are the third cause of deaths in Zambia. The current state has prompted the Ministry of Health to look for solutions to reduce pressure on emergency services and the government has laid more emphasis on road safety.
Zambia developed five pillars to reduce the projected global road fatalities and one of the pillars was on post-crash response. The goal is centred towards ensuring that disabilities an deaths caused by accidents are reduced and the World Health Organization (WHO) have developed various strategies to achieve the objective.
Daniel Makawa, the assistant director in the Ministry of Health said that the state had been committed in ensuring the problems arising from road accidents are adequately addressed. He said these during the Third National Road Safety Conference presentation. Moreover, he said that the government was implementing plans to reduce accidents which affect economic development in Zambia. Additionally, he said that part of the programs to be soon implemented by the government was construction of National, provincial and district emergency communication centres.
Makawa also said that Zambia has 207 ambulances but the government has put measures to ensure additional 50 ambulances annually. Moreover, he notified the audience that a tender to supply ambulances had been awarded to Savenda Management Services, but the consignment was still under parliamentary debate. Issues had been raised as the transparency of the tender was questioned, and it had been the talk of the day on social media. Chitalu Chilufya, the health minister, responded to all the questions posed and it was evident that the rumors on social media were inaccurate. As it had been speculated on social media that the vehicles to be supplied were Land Cruisers, the minister said they had ordered for Mercedes Benz vehicles. The minister also clarified the issue about the price saying that each complete vehicle unit was to cost $143, 110. Finally, he assured the members of parliament that at the appropriate time, government officials would be sent to carry out pre-shipment inspection and the Ministry he leads advocates for providing high-quality services. He appealed to politicians not to policitize health matters. He also clarified that Toyota Zambia had not participated in the tendering process so there was no way the company’s products would be considered.
Zambia’s National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) had mentioned that the mandate to reduce fatalities requires multisectoral approach and it aims at building 20 toll plazas in 2017. Additionally, to reduce the response time for road crashes, they target to build other 40 toll plazas in 2018.