Jam Sajjad Hussain
ROAD Traffic Accident is not the will of God. It takes place because of multiple factors as it happens either owing to the negligence of driver, fault in vehicle, poor maintenance of road or the road user. But RTA is ‘taken for granted’ in our society. A motorcyclist, while driving his motorbike with 80 or 100 kilometres speed per hour on Grand Trunk (GT) Road, is engaged in conversation on cell phone adjusting it between his head and left shoulder for a minute and is struck into the moving vehicle. Consequently, he sustains head, leg, arm and chest or other injuries. The outcomes of this ‘normal’ RTA are horrifying. Earlier, he was the sole breadwinner of his family and now he becomes burden on his family. In fact, we have turned deaf ears to harsh realities. We give no value to life.
According to a report, 1.3 Million people are died annually in road traffic crashes across the world and 50 Million are injured or disabled every year. Right now, RTA is the 10th leading cause of death. The report further says that road traffic crashes cost 518 Billion US Dollar globally, costing individual countries from 1-3 percent of their gross national product. Likewise, over 90 percent of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries (like Pakistan), which have less than half of the world’s vehicles. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly half (46 percent) of those dying on roads in all over the world are ‘vulnerable road users’, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. In Pakistan, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young breadwinners leading to a huge socio-economic burden. But, who will save us from such emergencies? America, UK, Japan, France, Australia? No, no one will step forward for our protection. Pakistan is our beloved homeland and we are the citizens of Pakistan, therefore, we have to protect ourselves and our country.
The Pakistan’s largest and modern humanitarian service, the Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) has alone responded to over 1.42 million road traffic accidents in Punjab since its inception. According to consolidated report on Road Traffic Accidents (2004 till April, 2016), these accidents have affected1, 331, 547 males, 35, 9255 females, whereas 18446 people have lost their lives. Total 89, 2204 persons sustained multiple injuries and were shifted to base hospitals and 7, 801, 52 persons were provided first aid on spot by emergency medical technicians of Rescue 1122.Among the victims, 88030 were between (1 to 10 year), 374248 between (11 to 20 years), 522737 between (21 to 30 years), 337171 between (31 to 40 years), 196583 between (41 to 50 years), 103663 between (51 to 60 years) and some 68370 persons were reported above 60 years. It may unbelievable for many but 9, 825, 36 motorbikes, 2, 012, 60 cars, 31782 buses, 91254 trucks, 59129 vans, 1, 465, 42 rickshaws and 1, 585, 57 other automobiles were involved in aforementioned road traffic crashes. Likewise, 50520 underage drivers, 636156 drivers, 8, 081, 69 passengers and 2, 464, 77 pedestrians were affected during these traffic accidents. Main causes of such accidents are over speeding, carelessness, wrong turn, U-turns, one wheeling, tyre burst and others.
Rescue 1122, the brainchild of Pakistan’s renowned trauma surgeon Dr. RizwanNaseer, has created a sense of safety among the victims of emergencies. Dr. Rizwan is true harbinger of safety and trendsetter in establishing modern system of emergencies in Pakistan. By his human-friendly thoughts and practical hectic efforts, Rescue 1122 has rescued over 4.4million lives and changed the minds and public perception towards emergencies. Dr. Rizwan loves life, he loves humanity and he loves to see Rescue 1122 responding immediately to emergencies without any discrimination. He has introduced a structure of modern emergency system in Pakistan; he has established first modern fire service of Pakistan, launched disaster response team, initiated first modern water rescue team and several other initiatives are credited with his name.
Some senior media practitioners believed as, ‘Dr. Rizwan Naseerhas produced Mini-Doctors, who respond like angels and protect lives’. Dr. Rizwan is the true hero of Pakistan. Unfortunately, the people like Dr. RizwanNaseerare never encouraged when they show enthusiasm to launch any major positive project or initiative for the welfare of society. He too was discouraged by different quarters when he introduced his plan. He was given such replies, ‘Dr. Saheb this is Pakistan, this is not UK or USA’. Now, a modern system to tackle all kinds of emergencies either medical emergency, RTA, fire incident, drowning case, explosion and etc has been established and 50 percent of the overall goal has been achieved but 50 percent lies with mindset change. To achieve rest of the goal, community participation is integral as community members have to come forward and utilize local resources for their own safety and the safety of future generation. God May Save our Pakistan.Ameen!
—Writer is head of Public Relations, Rescue 1122, Punjab