Donat Niyizaba is lying on his sickbed at University Teaching Hospital of Kigali’s (CHUK) accidents and emergency ward covered with bed-sheets. Underneath the white bed-sheets lies a sad story of a youthful man with an amputated left leg.
A resident of Byishyura Sector in Karongi District, he has been bed-ridden for close to four months now. Niyizaba was knocked by a vehicle on the evening of August 8, 2018 as he was returning from work.
“On that fateful evening, I was returning home from a construction site where I worked. While walking on the pedestrian pathway, I was hit by a Fuso truck that was coming from behind…that’s all I can remember,” Niyizaba narrates his ordeal in excruciating pain.
By the time he regained his consciousness, he says, he was lying in a hospital more than 100kms away from his home with an amputated leg and in deep pain.
According to police the driver that hit Niyizaba was overtaking another vehicle in a sharp corner. He was attempting to avoid a head-on collision with a vehicle from the opposite direction hence vying in the pedestrian walkway.
“I became the victim of the insensible driver. Now I have to start from zero; I feel the doors to my future have been closed…my future is shattered,” he reckons with sadness.
Next to Niyizaba lies Daniel Mushinzimana with plastered legs. He can barely walk. The father of three, who hails from Nyamirambo sector in Nyarugenge district sustained a broken bone when he was hit by a motorcycle early this month.
“It’s so painful and sad to be lying here because of the recklessness of another person. I feel so sad that I can’t provide for my family now; they are suffering because I can’t work,” depressed Mushinzimana says.
“I am a mechanic and a driver. I would make at least Rwf200, 000 monthly and today I am lying here spending the little I had saved on medical bills.”
Across lies Fredrick Maniriho also in a calcium phosphate bone cement. A casual labourer sustained a broken leg when a motorcyclist that was transporting him crashed down as he tried to negotiate a sharp corner on high speed.
The trio is among the 13 road accident victims admitted at CHUK, who were visited by Rwanda National Police (RNP) on November 21, to offer them varied supported as part of the ongoing Road Safety Week.
At least eight of the victims hospitalised at CHUK are either motorcyclists or passengers that were being transported on motorcycle.
It is a humanitarian exercise that RNP conducted concurrently in various hospitals across the country where the force paid medical bills and provided varied supported to about 60 disadvantaged accident victims, including those without medical insurance.
Mushinzimana is also among the beneficiaries that had no medical insurance.
“The lord has answered my prayers. I have no medical insurance and I had told my wife to sell part of our land to pay the medical bills of about Rwf200, 000. I can’t thank our government enough. When a security institution comes to support to people… this is because of the good leadership Rwandans are enjoying like never before,” says Mushinzimana.
According to Dr Theobald Hategekimana, the director of CHUK, they receive between 2000 and 2500 accident cases every year.
“We have seen a tremendous reduction of vehicle accident victims. Unfortunately, we are seeing the increase of motorcycle injuries, who account for about 70 percent. Others are pedestrians and cyclists,” Hategekimana said.
The reduction in vehicle accidents is largely attributed to the installation of speed governors in cargo and passenger service vehicles
According to statistics on road security status, road accidents reduced by 20 percent from 549 cases in last year’s first nine months to 437 cases in the same period this year. Motorcyclists account for majority (30 percent) of road injuries and deaths registered in the same period this year.
“This day should be like a sound call to all road users that although the country values them they should take the upper hand as drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians to protect their lives by using the road in an appropriate manner that guarantees everyone’s safety,” says Dr. Hategekimana.
According to Commissioner of Police John Bosco Kabera, the RNP spokesperson, “this day was reserved for accident victims to comfort and support them but also to educate patients and other people in hospitals on safe usage of roads.”
“This is an intensive awareness campaign designed to reach out to all categories of road users. It is intended to supplement other measures like use of technology and working with other partners in transport to prevent road carnage,” CP Kabera added.
The Government recently announced that all motorcycles will beginning June next year be fitted with GPS for easy monitoring and control.