First aid awareness programme to be conducted for students, teachers, officials and drivers
It aims at sensitising people to road rulesRotary Road Accident Helpline Project re-dedicated
COIMBATORE: The Rotary Clubs and the Ganga Hospital here launched on Thursday a Mass Movement Against Road Accidents, as a project of the Rotary International District 3200. The movement aims at reducing road accident deaths by sensitising people to the rules of the road, the need to wear helmets and seat belts.
Inaugurating the project, Rotary International President-elect Wilfrid J. Wilkinson described it as one aimed at serving humanity. "I appreciate the Rotarians here for giving what the community requires," he said.
Mr. Wilkinson also re-dedicated the Rotary Road Accident Helpline Project that was introduced in July 2001 on the highways to save accident victims by getting medical help for them within the golden hour.
District Collector Neeraj Mittal said the movement was the need of the hour as prevention was better than cure. As many as 9,000 people died in road accidents in the State every year and most of these were those who rode two-wheelers.
The Government was doing everything possible to prevent accidents. The rule making the wearing of helmets compulsory was an attempt at bringing down the number of road accident deaths. But, enforcement alone would not help in bringing down the rate of fatal accidents on roads. The co-operation of the public and the role of non-governmental organisations in the form of such movements were vital to achieving the objective.
Mr. Mittal lamented the tendency among people to flout rules and thereby compromise on safety.
Lack of enforcement also had a hand in these fatalities, he said. To explain this point, he said there was a rule that people should wear seat belts. But, they flouted it. The Collector hoped that the helpline and the mass movement projects would help prevent deaths on roads.
Director of Ganga Hospital and Rotary District Chairman- Trauma Care S. Rajasekaran said the objective of the movement was "to prevent or reduce the medical, social and economic burden of trauma on our country."
A first aid awareness programme would be conducted for school and college students and teachers, the city police, transport and Coimbatore Corporation officials, home guards, autorickshaw drivers and also drivers of other public transport.
A Ganga Rotary Trauma Corps would be formed to assist the district administration in preventing accidents. Its composition would be decided in due course of time.
But, it would be the point of contact between the movement and the common man. National and international meetings would be held to promote trauma education and research.
Explaining why these measures were needed, Dr. Rajasekaran said that fatalities were so high that road accidents had assumed the proportions of an epidemic. "Animals kill animals in jungles, man kills man on roads," he said. The orthopaedic and spinal surgeon said that 1.2 million people died every year in accidents. When people died in the productive age of 25 to 40, three generations in the family were affected. Most of the victims hailed from the low-income or middle-income group and this spoke of the huge economic impact on their families.
Dr. Rajasekaran cited a World Health Organisation's Global Burden of Disease project report as saying that by 2020, road traffic injuries would have become the second leading cause of disability. According to the Indian Injury Report, 2005, road traffic accidents caused losses to the tune of Rs. 550 billion - three per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.
Trauma caused in road accidents was now the ninth leading cause of deaths in the country. It would take the third spot in 2020, he said.
Founder of the helpline project and Past District Governor of Rotary
District 3200 K.A. Kuriachan said the project had helped save thousands of lives with the help of 28 trauma care centres on the highways and 28 ambulances to reach the victims to hospitals within the golden hour.
The project had served as a model and even the State Government had established such helpline centres on the highways. "We had discussed the project with President Abdul Kalam and he was keen that it should be extended to the rest of the country," Mr. Kuriachan said.