, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – Kenyans on Sunday joined the world to mark the World Day in Remembrance of Road Crash victims, with survivors of road accidents telling of the challenges they face after life-changing injuries.
A somber mood engulfed the KICC meeting hall where they had congregated, as a section of the hundreds of victims recounted their adversities after they were involved in a road accident.
Ann-Mercy Wanjiku tells of how she had to go switch schools because her boarding school had no facilities to cater for her special needs.
“If God was to ask me whether I want to walk again, I will say yes before he finishes the question,” she said.
Wanjiku who is on a wheelchair spoke of a desperate situation experienced on a daily basis by survivors of road accidents whose parts of the body are amputated while some are left immobile.
“People who are physically challenged have many problems…when it comes to employment, many employees are not willing to have us because they think there is added cost to it,” she pointed out.
“They will have to make their offices accessible and a particular washroom for people with disabilities but they don’t want that at all.”
She proposed that the, “Government should offer incentives to those who employ people with disabilities like putting the required structures.”
“I would like to be independent just like any other person, but if you don’t employ us, where will we go?” she posed.
Wanjiku however had kind words for survivors of road accidents.
Partrick Otunga, a resident of Kibera and a father of three, spoke of the rejection he encounters from the society after he was involved in a road accident.
“I was a mason but after the accident along Nyerere road, I do not work anymore…my back is in pain,” he said.
“Those I used to work for have abandoned me now that I cannot work any longer…it’s like I am of no use to them.”
Stacey Sang, Elizabeth Samoei and Michelle Chan were students of Loreto Convent Musongari school who were involved in a road accident.
The three lost their arms following the July 2011 accident.
The Musongari girls’ school bus carrying Standard 7 and 8 pupils to an educational trip was involved in an accident on the Meru-Nanyuki highway on July 29, 2011 when their vehicle rammed into another stationary bus.
The accident claimed the lives of two students, one in standard 7 and the other a candidate. Several pupils also lost their limbs.
Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia who presided over the ceremony, called for caution from both motorists and pedestrians in a bid to reverse the trend.
“Looking at the stories, faces and conditions of our brothers and sisters seated here, you have to feel bad as a citizen of this country,” he stated.
“You are looking at cases which can be prevented…cases which are preventable.”
He said most of these cases were there due to negligence, “and blatant breach of law and regulations.”
Over 2,000 people have died this year through road accidents majority being pedestrians.
National Transport and Safety Authority Chairman Lee Kinyanjui however warned that firm actions will be taken against those who fail to follow the set traffic rules.
The latest report by the Authority shows that the rate of road fatalities on Kenyan roads has reduced by 11.7 percent.
Further statistics on road accidents in the country shows that 24 patients admitted at the National Spinal Injury and Referral hospital are road accident victims.
The hospital Medical Superintendent Dr.Soren Otieno says this translates to 75 percent of all cases handled in the 32 patients capacity hospital.