Cases of road accidents increase by 16 per cent in Kenya

National Council for Persons with Disability chairperson Peter Muchiri (right), Executive Director Harun Hassan (Second left) with survivors of road traffic crashes in Nairobi on November 21, 2021. [David Njaaga, Standard]

At least 3,900 people have died on Kenyan roads due to accidents from January up to November 16, 2021, compared to 3,200 deaths in the same period last year, representing a 16 per cent increase.

National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) deputy director, Road Safety, Duncan Kibogong said every year globally, 1.35 million people die from road accidents, which translates to 3,500 per day.

The estimates are in excess of 50 million persons who get injured with the majority getting some form of permanent disability every year.

"It is estimated that by 2030 if we don’t do something, estimates say 2.4 million persons will die in road accidents every year," said Kibogong.

He spoke at the National Spinal Referral Hospital in Nairobi on Sunday in an event to mark the World Day Remembrance of Road Traffic Victims.

The day is celebrated every second Sunday of November, with this year's theme being ''Drive At Low Speed".

Deputy Director Medical Services at National Spinal Injury Referral Hospital, Dr. Dennis Otwori, said the majority of the patients at the hospital are road accident victims.

Kibogong said in Kenya, the majority of disability cases are from road accidents.  

"Five to six per cent of GDP is lost every year due to road traffic crashes in terms of insurance, job losses, hospital bills, among others which translates to about Sh400 billion lost," Kibogong said.

The NTSA chief led a donation of 16 electric wheelchairs to the hospital through the NCPWD.

He said a majority of accidents happen due to human behaviour, including drink driving, untrained driving, careless overtaking, not wearing safety belts, riding without helmet for riders, and overspeeding.

Peter Muchiri, the chairperson of NCPWD, is also living with a disability following a road accident in March of 1992.

"At that time I had just finished Form Four. After the accident, I got admitted to the hospital and I used to ask myself if I would ever have children. But later I started a movie business, got married, and now I have seven children. Life must continue," he said.

One electric chair costs a minimum of Sh170,000 to Sh300,000 while a manual one costs between Sh7,000-Sh25,000, which is unaffordable for many people living with disability.

According to Dr Otwori, there is a need to increase the bed capacity at the spine hospital, which currently stands at 30 beds against the huge demand for admission.

‘‘We only have 30 beds but we receive patients from East and Central Africa. We have plans to expand the hospital but that may take time."