Residents want Salgaa trauma centre built, road expanded

Central Rift Matatu owners association Chairman Stephen Muli speaks during the World Day of Remembrance of Road Traffic Victims held in Salgaa, Nakuru County on Sunday. Residents of Salgaa now want the government to build a trauma centre in the area

Photo credit: Mercy Koskei | Nation Media Group

Salgaa residents and users of the Nakuru-Eldoret highway have called on the government to revive its plans to set up a trauma hospital at the trading centre and expand the road.

Speakers during the World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims said plans for a trauma centre date back to 2009, when a petroleum tanker exploded and killed at least 130 people.

During the ceremony held in Salgaa, Rongai sub-county, residents said a promise during President Mwai Kibaki’s administration to build such a facility remains only a dream.

Mr Shadrack Chepkwony, the chair of bodaboda operators in Salgaa, regretted that 10 years later, a trauma hospital has not been built.

He said he and his colleagues help rescue people from scenes of accidents but little concern is given to their wellbeing after the horrific experiences.

Mr Chepkwony said that they need counselling services after accidents, adding that the facility would be of great help to them.

Mololine chairman Njoroge Bumasu underscored the need for such a hospital and standby ambulances, saying the interventions will help save lives and protect first responders.

Mr Bumasu noted that Kenya’s economic growth and infrastructure development should be coupled with improved interventions.

“We appreciate government efforts to curb road accidents but they can’t be entirely done away with. We need trained rescuers and a trauma centre for [people caught up in] these crashes,” he said.

“We are expanding our roads as the number of vehicles in the country increases. If our response and mitigation measures are not at par with the growth, the statistics will continue to rise.”

Central Rift Matatu Owners Association chairperson Stephen Muli called for the reactivation of first aid containers placed at designated points along major roads during the festive season.

"As we wait for the trauma centre to be set up, we need to have full-time standby responders at blackspots. During the festivities, motorists are urged to exercise extra caution,” said Mr Muli.

Rongai sub-county Police Commander Wilberforce Sicharani lauded the county fire and disaster management department, noting that they have been among the first responders to accident scenes.

“The firefighters have been very supportive. We, however, face a challenge due to lack of standby ambulances and equipment for rescuing survivors trapped in the wreckage,” Mr Sicharani said.

Stanley Kiarie, a representative of heavy commercial vehicle operators, called on the government to expedite the expansion of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret highway.

He said that the Sh160 billion project set to expand the route to a dual carriageway from Rironi to Mau Summit will help tame road crashes.

He lauded the government for putting up a 21km median barrier and additional lanes on the stretch of the road between Migaa and Kibunja, saying this was good for road safety.

National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Nakuru regional manager Joseph Gichohi noted that over 4,000 Kenyans had lost their lives in road accidents between January and November this year.

“Ninety percent of these accidents are behaviour-related and are therefore preventable. Justice for victims is critical. Traffic offences should now be raised to the same level as criminal offences,” he said.

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