The Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Dr. C.P. Joshi has said that the Roads are the arteries of life for any state or country. Economic Development reaches to the remote parts of the country through these roads. It needs no emphasis that better infrastructure is a prerequisite to the economic growth of the nation. Delivering Valedictory address at the “International Congress on Emergency Medical Service Systems (EMS 2012) highlighting key areas for delivery of emergency medical services in India” organised by the Department of Hospital Administration of All –India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), here today. Our Govt. has accorded high priority to the development of National Highways in the country. With better roads and high growth in the automobile sector we are now facing a peculiar problem of increasing number of road accidents, fatalities and injuries not only in India but also globally. It is now a serious challenge before all of us to provide safer roads to all road users through better policy formulation, enforcement, improved vehicular safety, education, awareness and better emergency medical services.
He informed that his Ministry has committed to provide 140 Advance Life Support Ambulances to identified Trauma Care Centres being developed by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare along the National Highways. It is also planning to impart first aid training to drivers, toll booth operators and volunteers from nearby villages along National Highways and to give First Aid training in spinal and head injury cases.
Dr. Joshi said that the Union Cabinet has approved the National Road Safety Policy on 15th March 2010 which inter-alia provides that Govt. will strive to ensure that all persons involved in road accidents benefit from speedy and effective trauma care and management. The essential functions of such a service would include the provision of rescue operation and administration of first aid at the site of an accident and the transport of the victim from accident site to the nearby hospital. Hospitals alongside the National Highways and State Highways would be adequately equipped in future to provide for trauma care and rehabilitation.
Dr. Joshi said that the last meeting of the National Road Safety Council held on 25th March,2011 had formed five separate working groups on four E’s of Road Safety viz. (i) Education (ii) Enforcement (iii) Engineering (roads as well as vehicles) and (iv) Emergency Care to lay out the macro and micro dimensions with potential solutions to road safety and to suggest short term and long term measures to curb road accidents in the country . These reports are now available and will be placed in the next National Road safety Council Meeting on 29th February, 2012. Congratulating Dr. Shakti Kumar Gupta, Head of the Department of Hospital Administration, AIIMS for bringing out a commendable report of Working Group on Emergency Care, he said that all the five reports of the working groups including emergency care are also available on the Ministry’s website (www.morth.nic.in)
Expressing his deep concern on the neglect of Emergency services and trauma care in India, he said that the accident rate in our country is rising like in most developing countries, and the victims are in the 18-45 age-group which is the most productive segment of our nation. Vast majority of road traffic deaths in low-income and middle-income countries occur in the pre-hospital phase. But road traffic crashes and injuries are preventable. In high-income countries, an established set of interventions have contributed to significant reductions in the incidence and impact of road traffic injuries.
The Minister stressed on the strong need to have an urgent and comprehensive trauma care system encompassing the entire nation considering the magnitude of the problem. It is an essential service because injury victims must reach definitive care centers within the golden hour which is an crucial period of time in order to prevent death or disability. There is also a need to develop and implement state wide emergency medical service (EMS) and trauma care system, designate trauma facilities, and develop a trauma registry to monitor the system and provide state wise cost and epidemiological statistics. It is an accepted strategy of trauma care that if basic life support, first aid and replacement of fluids leading to initial stabilization can be arranged within first hour of the injury or ‘Golden Hour’, lives of many accident victims can be saved. Necessary activities to achieve this are initial stabilization by trained manpower, rapid transportation and medical facilities to treat such cases, all within a defined period of time, he added.
He said that his Ministry has studied the best practices being followed by some of the States particularly the Tamil Nadu model where they have set up a road safety council at state level and district councils at the district level. They have earmarked funds for addressing road safety issues. They have also set up emergency accident relief services and developed road accidents management data system. The data helps in identification of dark spots and generation of 12 other reports which further helps in taking remedial measures to control road accidents.
The Minister informed the gathering that his Ministry had held a meeting on the 13th January 2012 with Principal Secretaries (Transport)/Transport Commissioners and ADGs of Traffic of 13 States that account for 90% accidents and fatalities in the country. They have been requested to identify the top 25 dark spots in the states. Ministry will take up the top 5 spots for immediate treatment during the current financial year. It is also proposing to organize Seminars and Workshops involving the State Governments, all stakeholders, Academicians, Planners in order to raise the level of awareness on road safety issues and to work in a systematic manner to curb the rising trend of road accidents and fatalities.
- Strict enforcement of traffic rules (thehindu.com)