The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Number of Road Crash Victims Triples in KNH Trauma Ward

THE Kenyatta National Hospital has asked motorists to be cautious to prevent road carnage. The hospital says accidents are stretching its resources, while causing the public "unwarranted suffering". Some of the victims at the hospital have been admitted for more than one year with medics saying the demand for services is stretching the facility beyond its human and financial resources.

All beds in Ward Six, which has been set aside for accident victims, have been occupied, with some patients being compelled to sleep on the floor. A spine specialist at the hospital, John Ating'a, said KNH's capacity has been overstretched due to the increased number of casualties.

KNH has 32-bed capacity for accidents, but the number of accident patients has tripled, overwhelming resources and personnel. Speaking yesterday at the ward during the Orthopedic Patients' Open Day, Ating'a called for an all-inclusive approach in addressing the problem.

"Let us cooperate and minimise cases of road accidents, while ensuring that the patients who are brought to our hospital are attended to," he said. Yesterday's event was graced by spine injury specialists, representatives from the National Hospital Insurance Fund and the Police Service's Traffic Department.

Majority of patients are nursing fractures and soft tissue injuries, with most cases being attributed to boda boda accidents. A survivor, John Kimani, who was involved in an accident in February and currently nursing fractures, asked motorists to be mindful of other road users.

Kimani said a lorry he was in rammed into a stationary trailer on the Mlolongo-Athi River road. He said the lorry driver died in the accident. "We were driving from Machakos at night when we rammed into a trailer that had stalled in the middle of the road without life savers," Kimani said.

Kilimani Traffic officer Michael Musee said the ban on night travel will remain in force to ensure protection of lives. "We will not relent in this effort as we endevour to prevent more sufferings brought about by accidents," he said. Musee cautioned the public against using boda bodas after 8pm.

He said boda bodas have become popular countrywide and have been blamed for many accidents. Musee said this made them ban boda bodas from operating at night due to poor visibility. "Most of these cyclists do not have genuine driving licenses that are required for their operations. They also defy rules that mandate them to ensure their passengers wear helmets and reflector jackets," he said.

Musee asked pedestrians to observe traffic rules, cross roads at designated zebra crossings and use foot bridges. He called on accident victims to ensure their incidences are reported to enable them get help. "It is important to provide relevant information to your relatives so that they can report the cases to the nearest police station," Musee said.

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