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The Dark Side of Road Carnage in Zimbabwe

The festive season is a period where Zimbabweans both locally and abroad take time off their busy schedule to visit their kin in the village often with all kinds of vehicles to make a mark on friends and relatives in the village.

By Elia Ntali

Even those without experience of driving long distances will take to the steering. Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) are doing a commendable job to reduce accidents on the country’s roads.

Accidents occur within a fraction of a second but their price may last for a lifetime, some lose their lives others recover from injuries and some never recover fully leaving them with permanent disability.

Recent statistics from the ZRP National Traffic a total of 755 people were injured from the 15th of December 2017 to the 1st of January 2018, whilst 136 people lost their lives.

According to Dr. Milton Mbwera a psychologist road accidents carry consequences to the survivors and their families.

“The effects of road accidents include reduced quality of life, economic burden, legal implications as well as psychological consequences. The burden of road accidents is not only borne by those directly involved in road accidents as it extends to the families as most will need total care

“Silent risks such as social disparities in road accidents are common as individuals with low social status are major victims than those with high social status. This is common as many victims of road accidents are the poor who often make use of public transport as compared to those with high social status who use private vehicles” said Dr. Mbwera

He added that Accident induced costs are also incurred as a result of this scourge and these may be socio-economic or human costs. Socio-economic costs include hospitalisation, long term care and production loss.

“The effects of road traffic accident is not only limited to the passengers as drivers suffer from adverse effect even if they are not injured. Apart from psychological disorders drivers may be prosecuted for negligent driving and as such require lessons on the social impacts of road related deaths and injuries” he said

In most severe cases Dr. Mbwera says “Road accident survivors may suffer from mental health as a result of shock and may need to undergo rehabilitation to cope up”

Takudzwa Chingwere a social worker based in Harare says like any other health condition that seeks counseling road accident should be in the same category.

“Like any other health condition where counseling is required, counseling units for road accident victims must be established as it would help survivors and their families.” he said.

Road crashes can bring about a lot of difficulties on individuals and families with some losing their jobs while other incur huge hospital bills. The seriousness of these difficulties will vary considerably because laws, policies and other safety measures in Zimbabwe are yet to be adopted.

This is why it is pertinent and desirable to scale up the implementation of the road accident fund to cushion the social impacts of road crashes in Zimbabwe.

 

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