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Sunday, May 26, 2024

TSCZ embacks on countrywide road safety training programme

Story by Tamuka Charakupa

THE Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) and the Zimbabwe Red Cross society have joined forces to launch a nationwide first-aid training program.

The initiative aims to equip communities residing along major highways with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to road accidents.

Last year in August, a haulage truck ferrying a deadly chemical from South Africa was involved in a fatal accident at Murare River in Chimanimani West causing water contamination which resulted in the loss of livestock posing a risky health hazard for the community.

The incident highlighted the need for improved preparedness and response capabilities in the event of road accidents.

The first phase of the first-aid training program saw 50 villagers from the Chaseyama community receiving first-aid certificates.

Participants expressed their newfound confidence in handling emergencies, both at home and at accident scenes.

“We have been capacitated with knowledge as to how we can respond in case of an emergency be it at home or after a road accident,” noted a participant.

“We used to take pictures for social media when an accident occurs, but now we know that we should save lives before professional help comes,” noted another.

Local leaders echoed the program’s significance, acknowledging the prevalence of dangerous accident hotspots in the area.

“We are happy that government has respondent this way. We have so many blackspots around this area so its prudent that the ordinary person should have basic first knowledge,” said a traditional leader, Chief Mutambara.

Officer Commanding Chipinge District Chief Superintendent Godwills Chinyanganya said, “This is a very noble exercise considering the rate at which we are losing lives on the road. It has come to our rescue as the police because at times we are second to get to the scene when the local community is already on the ground. So by them being trained to render first aid, I think it has been a noble exercise.”

The countrywide first aid trainings are a joint effort of the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe and Red Cross Zimbabwe.

“As the TSCZ we are training communities along highways with first aid training and handing over certificates. We have realised that at times professional help may be late hence people on the ground should respond and lives. We are also lobbying for a policy change that every driver should pass through a defensive driving course so that we reduce accidents caused by human error,” explained Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe Board Chairperson, Mr Kura Sibanda.

Zimbawe Red Cross Society Manicaland Provincial Manager, Mr Munyaradzi Chikukwa spoke on the training program in Manicaland province.

“As the Red Cross Zimbabwe we trained over three hundred people in Manicaland whom we are offering first aid trainings for free. The idea is to have as many first responders as possible,” he said.

According to statistics from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, in 2023 alone, the Mutare-Masvingo Highway recorded about 120 road crashes with 68 being fatal which claimed 63 lives and injured over 100 people.

The handover of first aid certificates to this community means that the ordinary folk is now able to offer emergence help and this goes a long way in curbing road fatalities.

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