Brian’s Column: Why are roads chronically being designed for vehicles?


Monday, 24 June 2019, Brian Bilal Mwebaze

Brian's Column: Why are roads chronically being designed for vehicles?

Brian is back with his  regular columns of road safety through the eyes of a young person in Africa. He asks the question, Why are roads designed only for vehciles? Calling out the system to take a human centered approach.

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A safety risk guaranteeing future casualties in Africa.

What’s the easiest mode of transport to get to and away from most airports here? I find myself asking this rather strange question to my guide-turned-friend Hannes Kaltenecker during the International Students Week at the Technical University of Ilmenau, Germany earlier this month. Not only are we both “certified health freaks”, but we’re also owned by 2 dogs! Well, he adjusts his eyeglasses, turns and looks at me, as if he didn’t hear me at first. “Train, of course”, he responds. “What about you?”, he asks of me.

Where does one start? The start of course…

There’s a growing repute for most African countries to venture into the Airline business. A few months ago, Uganda brought in a few aircraft to rejuvenate her airline hopes, sadly not on time to fly the National Team to Egypt where the #AFCON2019 is set for kick off. Google that. Ethiopia has now, an undisputed busiest Airport able to serve 21 million people a year: -the closest rival is OR Tambo in South Africa at an estimated 17 million. Casablanca still topping the size charts as the elephant in the room. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya could take gold if it were a marathon. We all know those Kenyans can run don’t we

However, apart from those few airports, getting to and fro airports in our continent can be quite the hell. Let’s see…

The commonest way is to grab an airport taxi. This is equivalent to being driven to the airport by a friend (or whatever you prefer to call him/her). We all know how this will go, as you will be chillaxing in a traffic jam for more time than you will be on that plane. It won’t be long before you begin to curse your gods.

A safety risk guaranteeing future casualties in Africa.

What’s the easiest mode of transport to get to and away from most airports here? I find myself asking this rather strange question to my guide-turned-friend Hannes Kaltenecker during the International Students Week at the Technical University of Ilmenau, Germany earlier this month. Not only are we both “certified health freaks”, but we’re also owned by 2 dogs! Well, he adjusts his eyeglasses, turns and looks at me, as if he didn’t hear me at first. “Train, of course”, he responds. “What about you?”, he asks of me.

Where does one start? The start of course…

There’s a growing repute for most African countries to venture into the Airline business. A few months ago, Uganda brought in a few aircraft to rejuvenate her airline hopes, sadly not on time to fly the National Team to Egypt where the #AFCON2019 is set for kick off. Google that. Ethiopia has now, an undisputed busiest Airport able to serve 21 million people a year: -the closest rival is OR Tambo in South Africa at an estimated 17 million. Casablanca still topping the size charts as the elephant in the room. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya could take gold if it were a marathon. We all know those Kenyans can run don’t we

However, apart from those few airports, getting to and fro airports in our continent can be quite the hell. Let’s see…

The commonest way is to grab an airport taxi. This is equivalent to being driven to the airport by a friend (or whatever you prefer to call him/her). We all know how this will go, as you will be chillaxing in a traffic jam for more time than you will be on that plane. It won’t be long before you begin to curse your gods.

The second best alternative, take public transport? A suicidal mission? Maybe! Many will agree for its sheer consistency in delays most often making unsolicited stopovers literally anything and everywhere: from dropping a passenger 100m from where they were picked to someone wanting to buy a fruit from the hawker et.al. Mind you, this bus or whatever it is, shall stop 5+km away from the airport. You can (almost) be guaranteed to arrive too early for your next probable flight.

The third option, let’s explore them, shall we? Consider Commercial Motorcycle Service. There has been growth spurts in this line of business, with innovations from Safeboda, Uber helping to connect the customer and the biker through a tap on the phone. 

They will manoeuvre through the monstrous lanes of traffic, leaving jealous, stuck drivers and passengers alike cursing at the back of their teeth as you glide past them. It’s still dangerous though. There’re no clear lanes for 2 wheeled vehicles. Traffic lights don’t signal for 2 wheeled vehicles. There’re no established schools training and certifying these bikers, so you have to say a prayer (literally) on safe arrival. When it does make it though, you will hi5 the biker, become bros and sis for real until you probably need that liver transplant. God bless thee.

Fourth option, bike your way to the airport. Possible time saving, environment, health and energy benefits. The weak clammy grip of hope doesn’t lie. Truth is, you can’t bike to most airports. Designated places for parking are inexistent in addition to the many challenges stated already for 2 wheeled vehicles.

There have been meetings on meetings,  calls on calls for African countries to halve traffic deaths including THIS that was made at this year’s UN Road Safety Week by the UN Economic Commission for Africa. In South Africa, the new Transport Minister declared 3 days ago, Road Safety as a National Crisis citing ineffective law enforcement and the need to introduce safer cars. YOURS was in Stockholm, Sweden and gave input on the importance of meaningful youth participation within the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety. This included some great progress preparing the 2nd World Youth Assembly for Road Safety! Keep your eyes open to this.

Without fixing our road designs to be human-focused, despite the development indicators we project to brand ourselves, we’re all future casualties. Major ambitions should focus on vision zero for road traffic deaths.

See link below for original post: http://www.youthforroadsafety.org/news-blog/news-blog-item/t/brian-s-column-why-are-roads-chronically-being-designed-for-vehicles

Call for applications: Africa Regional – Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative on tackling Antimicrobial Resistance


 Entebbe, Uganda.  Application deadline: July 5, 2019

TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, hosted at the World Health Organization and its implementing partners invite applicationsfromGhana, Sierra Leone and Uganda for the first Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT)course on tackling Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) though operational research. The training will start in Entebbe, Uganda on September 2nd– 14th2019.

Participants will be drawn from institutions actively engaged in human, animal or environmental health programmes.  They could include doctors, nurses, veterinarians, laboratorians, pharmacists, monitoring and evaluation officers and other public health professionals.

This is a very practical and output-oriented coursewith clear milestones and measurable targets. Failure to fulfil the expected outputs linked to each module means the candidate will not proceed to the next module. This training is solely aimed at improving research capacity of participants and there is no other remuneration of any kind. A total of 12 candidates will be selected (four participants by country).

Eligible candidates who are not selected for the Africa regional course may be re-considered for the national course (which follows) if their research subject is considered relevant and interesting.

Applications will only be accepted through the online link:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Africa_Regional_AMR_SORT_IT_2019-20

Please note: The following link contains the course brief and the templates for letter/statement from applicant and supervisor- https://www.dropbox.com/sh/cg8uysocft33nrx/AAAGPUP7a6p3uLu5anbAnzA9a?dl=0

Before filling the online application, a) go through the course brief – this contains details about course rationale, description and application process b) ensure that you have the following documents ready: your CV, concept note, letter/statement from applicant (yourself) and letter/statement from your supervisor.Your application will be rejected without the letters of commitments in the prescribed format.

Only successful applicants will be informed of final selection around July20, 2019

For more details about the TDR SORT IT programme, please go to: https://www.who.int/tdr/capacity/strengthening/sort/en/

ABOUT TDR

TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, is a global programme of scientific collaboration that helps facilitate, support and influence efforts to combat diseases of poverty. TDR is hosted at the World Health Organization (WHO) and is sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and WHO. For more information, visit: www.who.int/tdr

INNOVATION FALLACY: Force-feeding ill-conceived technology in developing countries.


World Bank WSP Cartoon Calendar
World Bank WSP Cartoon Calendar: Published on May 27, 2019
Takudzwa Noel Mushamba

Takudzwa Noel Mushamba

WASH Delegate at Swedish Red Cross

It is common to hear words like game-changing or disruptive technology in the development sector nowadays. Innovation has become a cliché globally but the effects of ill conceived technological innovation are particularly evident in developing countries. When Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were launched at the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 innovation became an instant hit and buzzword. Since then every strategy, programme, job description and report contains the term innovation or one of its synonyms.

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Do not get me wrong, I support innovation but, appropriate and well thought innovation. In the same vein I firmly believe to drive sustainable development the time for nudging is gone. There is need to address traditionally taboo topics when it comes to why most developing countries. Experts shy away from tackling key reasons the real reason why success remain evasive despite the high number of development partners working particularly in the Sub Sahara African region. Justification for development is aid is very well articulated. However, it also seems the presence of development aid has inadvertently lulled upper echelons in developing countries into a deep slumber.

According to OECD, “ Innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method in business practices, workplace organization or external relations

Credit: Ig professionals

The world is changing with natural disasters becoming more frequent hence the need for innovation and sustainable development. Good governance and accountability must precede these. In the absence accountability funding development initiatives is tantamount to throwing money down the drain. In the absence of appropriate policy the needy barely benefit while tenderpreneurs and politicians continue to fatten their pockets. I am digressing, well back to technological innovation; this concept is very common in the development sector to the extent that most practitioners believe it is one of the key drivers of success. In the books of many practitioners innovation is about technology, new techniques, rapid change. Some believe it is about finding that niche that transforms everything. The development sector is different from the private sector both are hinged on good policy and governance but the latter is driven primarily by profit. The same cannot be said about the development sector in a context where the majority fail to meet basic needs. With high rates of unemployment in developing, everyone wants to be an innovator or entrepreneur. Innovation created a rush in the development sector over the years. Below are some outcomes and indicators of the innovation rush in the last decade:

  • Major bilateral donors are working independently to fund innovations and support startups
  • Founding of humanitarian and development innovation funders such as The Global Innovation Fund, 
  • A multitude of innovation hubs have been established in the last few years to foster private sector partnership projects

At this point technological innovation must be taken with a pinch of salt in developing countries. This is because of the 10 reasons below.

1. Most of the challenges in developing countries are not related to lack of innovative technology but rather lack of will, corruption, lack of accountability and poor governance. 

2. Technological innovation only works when certain preconditions are met such. Failure to meet these renders innovative ideas futile or the technology redundant. 

3. Not everything can be turned into business in developing countries. Given the low rating in most Human Development Indicators (HDI), it is difficult to turn major development sectors into business models. These only look good on paper but fail dismally in practice. 

4. Most developing countries fail to do the basics well, there is blatant disregard for policy and related instruments hence at this stage innovation that works is one that addresses aforementioned challenges. 

5. There is lack of understanding of underlying challenges and disregard of red flags by innovators. Although there has been some success of “donor hand held” technologies. For obvious reasons the sustainability of such initiatives remains questionable. 

6. What most developing countries need now is improvement. Once current basic systems are working well there is huge room for technological innovation.  

7. Introducing technological innovation is one thing, developing a sustainable solution is a different story. The only innovation required in most developing countries is management and policy innovation. These will pave way for other forms of innovation.

8. Most development practitioners shy away from controversial topics such as corruption mainly because it poses a risk to their ability to operate. Such should be confronted before we talk of innovation. 

9. It is important to understand not only the difference between innovation and improvement but also the value of each. An innovation may be an important improvement, but an improvement may not be innovative at all.

10. Innovation must be coupled with well-documented research so that we do not reinvent the wheel and repeat of mistakes. Most innovators are very good marketers unfortunately most developing countries buy into these without properly considering the long-term impact of such. 

Innovation is often lauded as a force for growth and development in developing nations. However, when most speak about innovation, they usually refer to the technovation (technological innovation), and many times policy and institutional innovations are often overlooked.

Disclaimer: Views, thoughts & opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s current or previous employers. 

You might not enjoy your viva (and that’s okay)


Kirsten J Lees

I recently had my PhD viva, and I passed with minor corrections. Everyone congratulated me, but actually I felt like a failure. Why? Because I didn’t enjoy my viva.

As I was preparing for the exam I was given lots of encouragement from my supervisors and from my friends who had already gone through it. One thing I heard more than anything else was ‘You’ll enjoy it!’ People told me this in conversation, I heard it on podcasts, and I read it in blogs.

Enjoy it!

The pervasive narrative as you approach your viva is that this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have two experts focused entirely on your work. Once you get past your initial nerves, you should enjoy discussing your work at a high level. And that’s great, if it happens for you. I’m definitely not trying to say that you shouldn’t enjoy your viva.

My problem was that I…

View original post 580 more words

Game of Thrones final season: Red Cross helps you pick sides before winter comes — Canadian Red Cross Blog Feed


For those of us who are fans of the show, Game of Thrones can create some internal conflict. We love watching the characters, but sometimes their actions can be so… hard to watch! Some Red Cross superfans found a perfect way to reconcile their humanitarian spirit and love for the show. To mark the eighth…

via Game of Thrones final season: Red Cross helps you pick sides before winter comes — Canadian Red Cross Blog Feed

The Zimbabwe Youth Tackling HIV  — We Are Restless


On the 21st of March 2019, Restless Development Zimbabwe under the Peak Youth Tackling HIV commemorated Internationa Woman’s Day. Maxwell Changombe is the Sexual Rights Program Coordinator for Restless Development-Zimbabwe. He coordinates the Peak Youth Tackling HIV project which seeks to see young people in peri-urban informal settlement empowered with knowledge and skills to make…

via The Zimbabwe Youth Tackling HIV — We Are Restless

What would a #Ugandan entry level #FirstAidAid Curriculum look like?


ae0cfb40-0f87-4536-831e-f0707fc95e93For as far as I can remember, during my advanced primary school education, I could list all the types of fractures in humans including my favorite “Green-stick fractures”:-I had to know that one, because as a child, I could identify with it. For those who don’t know, Green-stick fractures happen in children in a situation where the bone doesn’t break but bends. I could also remember a simple and compound fracture because during sports, our games master (Mr. Minekye-God Bless him) would warn us against tackling a player instead of tackling a ball. I never saw our games master kick a soccer ball though:-most often, the ball would kick him…but well…

Last week, I had a chance to support the process of giving birth to a National First Aid Curriculum convened by Malteser International (Uganda Chapter) under the OHEC (Out of Hospital Emergency Care) Stakeholders featuring Uganda Red Cross Society, ELPA, Association of Ambulance Professionals Uganda, Health for Uganda/Africa, SwimSafe Uganda, St. Johns Ambulance et.al. The idea was to have one, simple, skills focussed, relevant cross-cutting entry-level curriculum for these first aid heavy weight service providers. This event fit in well with the International Red Cross Movement to have an African First Aid For First Responders Manual which would be a public guiding document.

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Traditionally, each institution by mandate, experience or other wrote their own curriculum for lay responders. The definition of lay responders also remains quite diverse. The ability to read and write can’t be enough critical indicator of being lay. Because, for example, a banker with a-n MBA is lay when compared to a nurse’s intubation skills and vice versa. Last week, was a beautiful week:-challenging rhetoric, going over the institutional corridors of power, to imagine, the future where irrespective of who trains a lay responder, the same quality criteria is followed. The Ugandan government through the Ministry of Health seem to be already doing their job, thanks to their efforts through advancing the Emergency Medical Services Policy, secularization of National Toll Free Line and Good Samaritan Principles. During the 2 days, institutions agreed, this was a way to go. Believe me, it wasn’t easy, neither can we claim to have achieved anything (yet). The energy, commitment and focus to have this driven further can only be a good thing for our EMS relying on different institutional capacities and mandates.

We look forward to making first aid for a lay person, relevant, less medical, practical, short, simple, fun and engaging as possible focusing on skills development contrary to popular notion:-the ability to remember. First aid must be sexy, and through that, the number of people trained and the number of people confident and willing to give first aid can increase significantly, consequently saving more lives. Next steps will be crucial.6e26ed04-19f2-4317-91ad-174886ff315c.jpg

All photo credits in this post: Laura Beutler, Malteser International

Daily Quote – Why its OK to be SELFISH.


Discussed this with my little brother last week. Comes timely too

Transform Your Life with Tony T Robinson.

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Being selfish or being called selfish elicits a very powerful emotional response in most people. We are taught as a child not to be selfish, to share and that being selfish is a bad thing which makes you a bad person.

I am not suggesting otherwise in certain circumstances but then the idea of not being selfish can easily be taken too far or manipulated to get ones own needs met and I have found that the people who accuse you of being selfish are actually the ones with selfish motives because you are not doing what they want and by calling you selfish its an easy way to get you to bend to their will.

Well, I think there is a time and a place for being selfish and yes there are different types of “selfish”. I think if a child is hungry and you have food then you…

View original post 331 more words

#FirstAid for #FirstResponders-Notes from #Johannesburg


Back in Primary School, the definition of first aid was as easy as counting 1-2-3: “The first help given to a casualty before they are taken to a hospital”. This simple definition meant that, there’re some simple life saving steps that someone who is first at the scene of an emergency could take.  These steps are knowledge and skills that need to be learnt for they are neither inborn nor sexually transmitted. (sic). The first aider needs such enablers as training, identification, protection, equipment and a legal mandate to respond.

Expert Panel on FirstAid for First Responders Guidelines in Africa
Expert Panel on FirstAid for First Responders Guidelines in Africa Photocredits: Belgium Red Cross

Advancing improvements coupled by more actors in prehospital care in the last few years can only be a good thing for Uganda and Africa. There are more private institutions, NGOs, Faith Based Organisations, Cultural Medicine experts and Individuals significantly contributing to the field of prehospital care. We’re reaching a level where institutions are training lay people with an aim of deploying them to respond to an emergency. Before, we were (and continue to) training people with an anticipation that they would respond in case of an emergency. We’re quite slow at measuring casualty outcomes from first aid as well as ascertaining how many of the people we train do actually give first aid. Did they feel confident? Is there something they could have done or enabled to do?

There’s an improvement in this paradigm shift. Say, a call came in for a convulsing casualty in home X, you (as an institution) know that you have Mrs.G living in the same area and has been trained as your first responder. You call on her to rush to the scene as she helps the casualty with the help of home occupants et.al. That’s the realities of rural Uganda and most African countries where the position of Paramedics is still wanting in terms of training, equipment but also in most government health ministry structures.

There’re opportunities already, emanating from what most African governments have put in place. Ethiopia has Community Health Extension Workers, Uganda has also entered the process to do the same, building from her Village Health Teams Approach. Other organisations have Community Owned Resource Persons, the Red Cross Movement has Community Volunteers and the nomenclature goes on. What’s really important for the prehospital care arena is whether institutions have a commonly agreed upon curriculum, mentorship and quality assurance yardstick to ensure that the end-product which is the quality of service given by first responders is uniform and up to standards. One would say, that’s the job of the government’s ministry of health. Where this is not happening, doesn’t mean the status-quo has to rule. Is the training standard based on evidence based guidelines for Africa/Country/Region? Who defines these ”Evidence based guidelines?” We have traditional medicine which is a combination of medicinal plants, and spiritual healing (the later being not seen as a carefully designed potential for promotion of psychological first aid). Which medicinal plants can be promoted? In absence of rubber gloves and water, what available materials could be used, under what evidence? All these and more, the Global First Aid & Reference Center, Center for Evidence Based Practice of the Red Cross Movement convened the first expert panel on developing guidelines on first aid for first responders (FAFR) in Sub Saharan Africa  between 12th-16th March 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa with notable representation from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa.

It’s hoped that the final manual developed will substantiate on existing literature in first aid, and adapted by country context to ensure evidence best practices are promoted. It’s no silver bullet. We need to continue strengthening potential for ambulance operations, equipment, paramedics and equipping hospitals because what’s the point of bringing a well handled casualty into an empty hospital? The same manual, having been made from multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional teams at the continental level, will be made accessible to every actor at no cost in September 2019. I will be sure to share the link. 🙂

 

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