The Gambia Family Planning Association (GFPA) over the weekend sensitised over 80 students and teachers in the North Bank Region on road safety, HIV/AIDS prevention and how to administer medical first aid.
The forum, held in Farafenni, is part of the GFPA’s ongoing awareness campaign within communities under the Trans-Gambia Corridor project.
The African Development Bank-funded programme, which includes awareness creation on road safety and HIV/AIDS, as well as gender empowerment, was contracted to GFPA by the Ministry of Works and the National Roads Authority.
In his opening address, the executive director of GFPA Yankuba Dibba enjoined students to be vigilant while in the traffic and uphold ethics of road safety to avoid accident. Mr a lot of traffic both during and after the construction of the Trans Gambia Bridge, markets at Missira and Kerr-Ayib as well as feeder roads in the area.
He assured students of his institution’s resolve to continue working with schools within the project implementation zone, while urging them to be good ambassadors of road safety and HIV/AIDS prevention in their respective communities.
Experts at the forum highlighted unsuitable and poor quality tyres as key cause of traffic accidents. They advised motorists and riders to adopt the maxim of “Drive Alive and Arrive Alive”.
The lead consultant of the project Foma Ceesay warned drivers against using worn-out tyres and those that are meant for cold regions. “Such tyres cannot withstand the African temperature for long; thus compromising the safety of both drivers and other road users,” he added.
The director of Curriculum at the Ministry Basic and Secondary Education, Dr. Burama Jammeh noted that the initiative would help his Ministry improve upon the health and safety component of the school curriculum. He reiterated his call on schools to form health and safety clubs.
In his opening remarks, the chief of Upper Badibou Ebrima Ansu Tamba Jammeh urged students to avoid driving without a valid licence. He also called on the police to be more proactive in ensuring safety on roads.
Researches show that 90% of traffic accidents are caused by human error. Alhaji Lang K. Konteh, expert in defensive driving and Mamanding Kuyateh, community development expert, advised drivers to adhere to the cardinal principles of defensive driving, which is to observe, identify, predict and decide. The duo further called on drivers to always make sure that they are physically and mentally fit and their vehicles are road worthy before embarking on any journey.
Students commended GFPA for raising their awareness on what they called life skills. They made declarations to be forwarded to relevant authorities for consideration with a view to enhance health and road safety.
At the end of the forum each participating school was supplied with 10 boxes of first aid medical kits. A similar training was earlier held on Friday for front line health workers.
by Karabulie Conteh