11 November 2012

Ethiopia: High Time to Mitigate Road Traffic Accidents


Vehicular Accidents (VA) have already become one of the ever increasing public health problems, particularly for developing countries.

Ethiopia is, therefore, no exception. Available data show that every year two thousand people are killed while the property damage ranges between four hundred and five hundred million birr. It gives a shocking wave to hear a one hundred thirty six fatality rate per ten thousand vehicles when compared to two and three per same number in developed countries. If we calculate only the stated damage in terms of money, it can be used to carry out various development activities. Five hundred seventy million birr is required, for instance, for the second round drinking water expansion project for the city of Dire Dawa. Not only that, the long range psychological and economic burden on a given family and the nation is also a huge damage.

Of late, Kassahun Haile-Mariam, Director General of Road Transport Authority (RTA), said his office is preparing a plan to mitigate VA, which is worsening from time to time. He made the remark during the third national conference of transportation consultants. Participants of the forum have identified causes accounting for the soaring and alarming rate of VA. To mention but a few, inefficiency of drivers, night travel, over speeding, driving under the influence of Khat and alcohol and poor vehicle technical fitness are the major causes. The forum also discussed drawbacks related to road traffic law enforcement.

It is quite obvious that the traffic system is short of radar guns to control over speeding and devices for alcohol test. In addition to that, lack of computerized networking among the different states and administrations is negatively impacting the law enforcement.

Therefore, addressing the drawbacks mentioned earlier is too fundamental in order to tackle VA. All state and city administration bodies need to work jointly to raise awareness of drivers and pedestrians on road safety issues. Similarly, the law should be enforced appropriately and the necessary enforcing equipment need to be fulfilled. By so doing, people can move and carry out their activities safely and the vehicles would be a means to foster the country's development than damaging the lives and properties of citizens.

Basis for real development

The Ministry of Education (MoE) said that ensuring quality education, replicating best practices, retaining teachers and building their capacity and issuing teachers professional license are the major areas the ministry has planned to rigorously work on in 2012/13 academic year.

The ministry says, over 25 per cent of the total population, close to 22 million are the youth, is attending primary, secondary, preparatory and higher learning education. Of the 18 million students enrolled in primary schools including non formal education, over 8.5 million are females.

With no doubt, education is a means to help people develop knowledge and put one's potentials to maximum use. It is considered as a very precious tool in life too. It cannot be measured by money, fame and other things for everyone considers it as a key to success that disregards the stature in life and financial capabilities as long as there's the desire to achieve the goals people envision in life. One can safely say that a human being is not in the proper sense till he is educated. Without education people wouldn't have their high developed skills and talents that would help them become successful both in their respective careers, family in making right decisions in life and to become aware of their environment.

True, education is one of the most important keys to open the door of success and serves as a milestone to people's way going to the top of their dreams. Education may be viewed as a process, a product or both. It is a lifelong process that includes both formal instruction and a broad range of experiences. Really, the future of our country lies in its educational system. That is why the government has attached due emphasis to education be it elementary, secondary, tertiary and formal or informal. In fact, it was also cited that the nation's primary and secondary education coverage has raised over 95 and 37 per cent respectively in 2004 E.C., with some exceptions. Even the gap, according to the ministry, primary education coverage gap among states has greatly narrowed down except some shortcomings in Afar and Somali states. The government plans to enhance practice-oriented adult education beyond writing, reading and simple arithmetic skills in 2012/13 academic year. It is really a promising move to bring about a difference with regard to the sector.

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