By Edward Akaki – Moroto
Tears, sadness and sorrow has stormed the family of Steven Okello Olara (deceased) who on the night of Saturday 6th May 2023 succumbed to a road crash involving two riders along Moroto-Soroti road.
Lack of crash helmets, speeding and drink riding has all been attributed to the death of a one Steven Okello Olara aged 59 years and a Head teacher of Nadunget Primary School, Nadunget town council, Moroto district as narrated by Chemutai Doreen, one of the first respondents to the scene.
///Cue in…..Chemutai on crash…Cue out///
Okello leaves behind two widows and 9 orphans with fear of what remains ahead of them since the deceased has been the bread winner in the family.
Both the widows are housewives who entirely depended on Okello for all the necessities and at least 6 of the 9 children were still under direct support from the former headteacher who was having less than a year to retirement.
///Cue in …..Chemutai on Okello’s family….cue out///
In a report released by Mt. Moroto Regional Police Spokesperson, AIP Longole Michael, the deceased was riding a motorcycle registration number KMEP 266W from Moroto towards Nadunget when he had a head on collision with another rider a one Emmanuel Lomuria aged 33years and a youth councilor for Nadunget sub county and as well an in-law to the deceased riding motorcycle registration number UG 5858R heading towards Moroto.
It is alleged that on at about 10pm Lomuria drifted from his lane where he was riding and knocked Okello who was carrying a passenger a one Pulkol Andrew aged 66 years head on causing serious injuries.
In the same report, upon arrival of the victims at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital (MoRRH) in critical condition, Okello was pronounced dead with the other two still being monitored at the hospital Casualty ward with their fate hanging in balance.
According eye witnesses at the crash scene, none of the 3 victims had their crash helmets on nor have reflector jackets and one rider was speeding under the influence of alcohol when the incident occurred.
Road safety experts say in a journal, “You should never ever drink and drive. Just one drink could increase your risk of crashing. The consequences of drinking and driving are devastating. Drivers who consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel may kill or injure not only themselves but also their passengers and other road users.”
According to https://safewayrightwayug.org/ , universal helmet laws require all motorcyclists of all ages to wear helmets, on all roads and for all engine types, whenever they ride. Motorcycle helmet use for adults and children can lead to an estimated 42% reduction in risk of fatal injuries and a 69% reduction in risk of non-fatal head injuries.
Also, there was delay in the response by the rescue team which some witnesses claim could be the reason why Mr. Okello passed on.
According to Dr. Gideon Rugari, the Incharge Surgical ward at MoRRH, when a crash victim delays to be brought to the hospital, they risk losing their lives due to the lost ‘golden hour’. He added that multiple cases that reach late put them in no position to help the person.
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_hour_(medicine), the ‘golden hour’ is the period of time immediately after a traumatic injury during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical and surgical treatment will prevent death. While initially defined as an hour, the exact time period depends on the nature of the injury and can be more than or less than this duration.
“It is well established that the person’s chances of survival are greatest if they receive care within a short period of time after a severe injury; however, there is no evidence to suggest that survival rates drop off after 60 minutes. Some have come to use the term to refer to the core principle of rapid intervention in trauma cases, rather than the narrow meaning of a critical one-hour time period”, it continued.
The policies as according to the National Road Safety Plan 2021/22 – 2025/26
The UN proclaimed the period 2021–2030 as the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety (DARS), with the goal of reducing road traffic deaths and injuries by at least 50% in a Resolution A/RES/74/299 of the General Assembly adopted on 31st August 2021.
The Resolution encouraged Member States to ensure political commitment and responsibility at the highest possible level for improving road safety, and to develop and/or implement road safety strategies and plans with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including all sectors and levels of government, as appropriate.
This National Road Safety Action Plan has, therefore, been developed and defines an inclusive set of road safety actions for the next five years by all stakeholders in the country
Post – Crash Response
Post-crash care, as envisioned in the WHO Emergency Care Framework above, will be regionally managed by designated Regional Medical Emergency Coordinators. The coordinator will work to strengthen Public Private Partnership of EMS focusing on public education on prevention, recognition of road crash injuries/emergencies within their area of jurisdiction, and provision of First Aid, Ambulance Services and Facility Based Emergency Care.
Gaps and opportunities within the existing post crash response system will be identified using a standardized assessment of the emergency care system (e.g., WHO Emergency Care System Assessment, or similar) and an action plan developed.
According to the 2021 Annual Crime and Traffic/Road Safety report 4,159 road crash fatalities countrywide were recorded. Of these 1,390 involved motorcycle riders while 528 were passengers on motorcycles. This translates to about four people dying from boda boda crashes every day and about 116 every month.
The body of Mr. Okello will will be laid to rest in Morulem, Abim district Tuesday 9th May 2023 with most of the family members unsure what waits ahead of them now that the father figure of the family is gone for good.
Okello would still be there for his family if he had his helmet on and if Lomuria avoided drink riding and speeding.