The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) under the partnership for the Health Cities (PHC) held a kick-off meeting on Wednesday, 1st July, 2020 to mark the official take-off of a six-year support project towards the prevention of road traffic crashes in Ghana’s second largest city and capital of the Ashanti Region-Kumasi.
The initiative will particularly centre on the prevention of road crashes leading to injuries and loss of lives. Participants of the virtual kick-off meeting included the Mayor of Kumasi, Hon. Osei Assibey Antwi, the Metro Coordinating Director, Mr. Kwadwo Akuamoah Boateng and the six (6) other Municipal Chief Executives from the various municipalities within the city of Kumasi.
Representatives from the Bloomberg Philanthropies health team, Kelly Larson and Becky Bavinger, and other partner organizations who are now officially supporting the work in Kumasi also participated in this virtual meeting.
As part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), Kumasi, KMA will improve data management, infrastructure, monitoring, enforcement and communication on road safety.
The partners who will offer technical and financial support to the city to implement strategies proven to be effective in preventing road traffic deaths and injuries, in line with the best international practices in the area are; the World Health Organization,Vital Strategies, Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), World Resource Institute (WRI), Johns Hopkins University International Injury Research and
Country Level Partners (GHAI/WB/WHO).
BIGRS welcomed Kumasi as one of the 30 cities participating in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety, a network committed to reducing the deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes.
According to Kelly Larson of Bloomberg Philanthropies “every year, more than 1.35 million people are killed in the world, on roads. Road traffic injuries are the 8th leading cause of death worldwide and the number one in deaths among people between the ages of 5 and 29 years old.
More than 1.35 million people die and up to 50 million are seriously injured in traffic crashes each year.
By implementing proven evidence-based data-driven interventions, these deaths are nearly entirely preventable.
The third phase of BIGRS which started this year (2020) will last for six years. Participating cities include Accra, Kumasi (Ghana), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Bogota (Colombia), Guadalajara (Mexico), Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Kampala (Uganda), Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi (India), as well as São Paulo, Salvador and Recife (Brazil).
Based on the success of 12 years of investment in road safety, Bloomberg Philanthropies, additional support for the 3rd phase of the project aimed at saving another 600,000 lives and preventing up to 22 million injuries in low and middle income countries around the world. The six-year reinvestment in BIGRS is expected to double the impact of these life saving measures.
Since 2007, the initiative has saved nearly 312,000 lives and prevented up to 11.5 million injuries.
According to the Ashanti Regional Police Motor, Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), a total of 334 persons lost their lives through road crashes in the Ashanti Region between January and November 2019. To prevent road crash injuries and fatalities, BIGRS is collaborating with KMA to save lives through proven interventions that focus on four major risk factors (speeding, drink driving, helmet wear and seatbelt wear/ child restraint) with speeding as the focal risk factor to be tackled extensively across all BIGRS cities around the world.
Mayor for Kumasi Metropolis Hon Osei Assibey Antwi said “KMA is therefore, happy to partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies on this important mission of reducing crashes and saving lives. The statics show that crashes and its related deaths and injury is on the rise in the city.
We need to make our city safe for all its citizens as we commute our roads daily. We will work to the best of our ability in this partnership to ensure the reduction of road traffic injuries and deaths in Kumasi”.
“We therefore entreat all and sundry to come on board especially the Media and all road safety partners to fight against road crashes. Together, we can do it and do it better”, he added.