WHO supports High Level Advocacy Meeting on Road Safety
18th April 2019 – WHO Maldives supported the High-Level Advocacy Meeting on Road Safety by Health Protection Agency, Ministry of Health. The meeting was graced by Vice President of the Maldives His Excellency Faisal Naseem as Chief Guest who launched the Multi-Sectoral National Road Safety Action Plan (2019-2023). Cabinet Ministers from the Government of Maldives including Ministers of Health, Education, Youth and Sports and State Minister of Transportation and Civil Aviation, Maldives Police Commissioner, WHO Representative, UNICEF Representative along with several senior officials from Maldives Police Services, various ministries and representatives from civil society organization attended the event; a sign of high political commitment towards Road Safety in the country.
During the ceremony, Vice President His Excellency Faisal Naseem and Minister of Health Honorable Abdulla Ameen launched the National Road Safety Action Plan (2019-2023). The development of the National Road Safety Action Plan was led by Health Protection Agency, Ministry of Health, and was developed with technical and financial assistance from World Health Organization.
Multi-sectoral partnership was demonstrated with the presence of Cabinet Ministers such as Minister of Health Honorable Mr Abdulla Ameen, Minister of Youth and Sports Honorable Ahmed Mahloof, Minister of Education Honorable Dr Aishath Ali, Maldives Commissioner of Police Honorable Mr Mohamed Hameed, State Minister of Civil Aviation and Transportation Honorable Mr Ahmed Adil, and several other senior officials from several Government bodies also took part in this High-Level meeting.
Maldives Police Services gave a short presentation on burden of accidents in Maldives at the event. According to data revealed from road crashes recorded in 2018, the highly affected group of vulnerable road users comprises of 4 wheelers and motorcycle riders (45%), motorcycle riders (24%) 4 wheelers. In the past four years most of the road crashes were among road users of the most productive age group; 18 -30 years. Out of 2007 road crashes in 2018, 860 crashes were among the age of 18 -30 years. Speeding and reckless driving is the main reason of deaths and fatal injuries among this age group in Maldives, increasing the burden for the families of victims and causing a huge loss to the economy as well.
In his speech, Vice President Faisal Naseem has called upon everyone to set an example for future generations in obeying road safety rules. The Vice President noted that sadly a high number of youth were among those who meet with road accidents in the country and urged all youth to be more attentive and careful while on the roads. Noting the high rise in road accidents in the Maldives each year, especially in the larger islands, the Vice President underlined the importance of adhering to road safety measures for drivers and pedestrians alike. He further called upon all State institutions to come together and be cooperative in the implementation of the action plan launched.
Minister of Health Honorable Abdulla Ameen noted that every year, an average of nine people dies in the Maldives from Road Traffic accidents. Minister called for action from the different sectors to make the roads safer for everyone. He also emphasized the importance of using innovative methods and technology to ensure faster medical response to victims of road traffic accidents.
Through a presentation, WHO Maldives National Professional Officer Ms. Fathimath Huda highlighted the Priority Actions as identified in National Road Safety Action Plans and on behalf of WHO Rep presented WHO’s Key recommendations for road safety including sharing the WHO Road Safety App.
Road safety is an issue that needs partnership from a wide range of stakeholders including the government and public organizations, businesses, civil society and the public. Involvement and engagement at all levels is required to achieve the targets on road safety action plan. WHO stands committed to providing technical assistance and support the Government of Maldives to ensure safe roads for all and strengthen the trauma care services.