Statistics from the Ghana Police Service and the St. Joseph’s hospital here in the Jirapa Municipality in the Upper West Region indicate that there is a high occurrence of Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) in the municipality and is reaching alarming proportions in spite of several efforts to curb the situation.

The Medical Superintendent of the St. Joseph’s hospital, Dr. Daniel Nii Armah Tetteh has blamed alcohol intake by motorists as a major cause of the situation and that 70 percent to 80 percent of RTA casualties that report to the heath facility are alcohol induced.

Dr. Armah says of the number of RTAs involved over 90 percent are motorcycles, a situation he finds disturbing especially that it is avoidable and preventable.

The peak periods for these RTAs he says are between Fridays and Sundays over the weekends in the evenings and nights and during festive seasons such as Christmas, Easter, Sallah and funeral celebrations. Another events that record significant increases in RTAs that normally cause injuries are during political campaigns and rallies.

According to Dr. Armah, the situation can become so alarming that it can bring the emergency unit of the health facility to a standstill when it is overwhelmed with injuries at expense of other cases that also require the necessary requisite attention although it isn’t a daily occurrence.

The St. Joseph’s hospital is the only referral health facility in the Jirapa Municipality and it serves the health needs of the whole municipality and beyond catering for a large number of people, the large number of patients caused by RTAs at times creats stressful situations for both the facility and staff putting undue pressure on both, limiting productivity, Dr. Armah explained.

Medicines for treatment of injuries he says, is not so worrying. However, he says large quantities of health consumables such as gloves, bandages and gauze are used in treating injuries putting undue financial burden on the health facility since most of the patients are Health insurance card bearers and there is no limit to the quantity of consumables person and an additional charge on patients will be illegal by law.

In a study conducted between the year 2020 and 2022 at the St. Joseph’s hospital here in Jirapa by one Faustin Awinbilla Akum, it came to light that eight out every 1000 individuals were involved in road accidents of which 78 percent were males and the age group was between 18 and 25 years averaging 31 years.
Over 91 percent of road crashes involved motorcycles and over 59 percent was caused by alcohol intake and these road accidents occured mostly during the weekends between Fridays and Sundays at night.
The report also identified the non-use of crash helmets, overspending, riding without lights and inadequate police supervision as making the situation worse.
The report went further to say punishment meted out to offenders wasn’t deterrent enough and that opinion leaders often came to plead on behalf of offenders each time they were accosted by the police especially when it involved underaged riders.
It also outlined the hardships RTAs brought to families because either limited family resources are used to treat victims or victims are bread winners of their families causing socio-economic burdens in an already impoverished society.


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