By Hanning Mbabazi
Bugiri: Eight People have died and many left with severe injuries after a speeding trailer Registration number ZE 2344 travelling from Kampala lost control and veered to the right-hand side of the road where it collided with a Modern Coach bus.
The fateful incident occurred on Sunday morning September 15, 2019 at Nakawa, Busowa Town Council in Bugiri District along the Jinja-Tororo highway.
The officer-in-charge of traffic at Bugiri Police Station, Mr Hopkins Twesiga, said three people died on the spot, while the other five died on their way to Bugiri Hospital and upon arrival at the health facility.
“The driver and turn-boy of the trailer died on spot while of the 40 passengers who were aboard the bus, six died while the survivors were taken to different hospitals including Bugiri, Iganga and Fast Line Medical Centre in Bugiri. We are yet to identify the exact cause of the accident because we picked some bottles of waragi in the trailer and suspect that the driver was drunk,” Twesiga said.
Some of the identified survivors who were rushed to various hospitals and health centres include Hellen Lunyolo, Fauzia Kalele, Adrian Migadde, Lamula Nansubuga, Joseph Mwanja and Kairu Kairu among others.
By press time, bodies of the deceased were still at Bugiri Hospital mortuary.
Uganda is rated among the top or leading countries in road traffic accidents (RTAs) or incidents (RTIs) in the world, according to World Health Organization (WHO) road safety assessments. Given that negative repute as a leading cause of mortality, morbidity or disability, one would like to know, where on the scale of priorities, does the Ministry of Health strategically place the carnage of road traffic accidents on both the policy and health care delivery system agenda?
For recent studies on RTA/Is in Uganda suggest that the rising trend of road traffic accidents and injuries give equally rising morbidity and mortality trends, as well as increased health care costs and budgets. Time and again, many Hospitals along the major highways, and Mulago National Teaching and Referral Hospital in particular, get overwhelmed with serious motor/traffic accident cases.
Disciplines in motor vehicle manufacturing, design engineering, transport and roads industry, vehicles inspection; public health experts, health economists, behavioural scientists, health policy and systems researchers, should all be engaged in finding answers. Equally, Parliament should revise existing laws with a view to making new or adding mandatory statutory penalties for offenders to curb the unnecessary RTA menace in our country.
The Judiciary through the courts should be enabled to pass deterrent statutory penalties prescribed by the law on blatant offenders. While accidents may not be stopped from occurring altogether, I believe more can be done to reduce and/or mitigate their effects on the health and well-being of the people.