AS some politicians resist the Police crackdown on errant boda bodas, 10-year-old John Lubongoya’s life hangs in the balance at Mulago Hospital after a tragic accident that left him in a coma.<br>Doctors say he may remain unstable for about one more month following the accident that befell him on
TOP Health STORY
Sun Aug 24 2008 .
Deadly ride: Boda bodas leading cause of hospital casualties
Vision Reporter
Journalist @ New vision
AS some politicians resist the Police crackdown on errant boda bodas, 10-year-old John Lubongoya’s life hangs in the balance at Mulago Hospital after a tragic accident that left him in a coma.
Doctors say he may remain unstable for about one more month following the accident that befell him on
By Francis Kagolo and Joseph Kariuki

AS some politicians resist the Police crackdown on errant boda bodas, 10-year-old John Lubongoya’s life hangs in the balance at Mulago Hospital after a tragic accident that left him in a coma.
Doctors say he may remain unstable for about one more month following the accident that befell him on his way from school on July 15.

Little John, a P5 pupil at Mbuya Academy in Kampala, met his fate while returning home from school. John’s story is told by his mother because he has been unconscious for one month.

“As the boy was crossing the road, a boda boda man who was speeding knocked him down, leaving him bleeding by the roadside,” says Jessica Kimanya, who is nursing him at Mulago Hospital.
“People who witnessed the accident tried to arrest the rider, but he sped off,” said a tearful Kimanya.

Just across John’s bed lies another boda boda victim who has been in this neuro-surgical ward at Mulago Hospital for a month.

Edward Ogola, unlike John, was aboard a boda boda whose rider was in such a hurry to make a quick buck, but ended in hospital. Edward has a fractured leg, hand and multiple chest injuries.

“I was going to work and because I wanted to arrive early I used a boda boda,” says Edward, whose right leg is plastered, a reminder of the tragic accident which occurred on Luzira Road.

“I can no longer work,” says 37-year-old Edward whose wife, Proscovia Wiyela, adds was the bread winner of the family.
“We depend on our neighbours for food because I am unemployed,” Wiyela said.

The sad part, Edward says, is that the boda boda rider got minor injuries and ran away leaving him bleeding profusely.
Ten metres away from Edward’s bed lies Angella Namubiru.

Her story is more tragic. She says on June 31 she was coming from Ntinda where she sells newspapers to her home in Kireka when the accident occurred.

“I was rushing home to see my children, I jumped on a boda but as the rider rushed through the jam, a car knocked us on Jinja Road,” she narrated the event that left her without her right leg.

Just like the others, Namubiru was left by the rider for dead, but a Good Samaritan took her to Mulago Hospital where she has been admitted for two months.

To make matters worse, Namubiru, a single mother of three, is at a loss on how she will fend for her three children.“I will have back my two legs neither will I continue with my job.

How will I earn a living?” a sobbing Namubiru asked. She was narrating her ordeal to journalists and Police who were on a tour of the hospital to assess the damage caused by boda boda riders.

As the three and others fight for their lives, hospital officials said 70% of the casualty patients admitted in Mulago are victims of boda boda (hire motorcycle) accidents in Kampala.

The Police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba, supported the statistics, saying that boda bodas accounts for most of the accidents.

“From January to May, Police reports indicate that about 325 people got serious injuries from boda boda accidents. It is either their legs that are broken or their spinal cords injured,” she said.

The road safety commissioner, Steven Kasiima, last week launched a crackdown on boda boda riders whom he said had become a nuisance. He said over 40,000 riders in Kampala were responsible for about 50% of the road accidents in the city.

Dr. Tito Beyeza, the head of the orthopaedic department, said every month, five people die of boda boda accidents. This, he said, implies that at least one person per week is killed in the motorcycle carnage.

“The problem was getting out of hand. On average, we receive about 10 people per day who have sustained major injuries due to accidents. Seven of them are either a result of boda boda or are related to boda bodas,” he said.

Dr. Beyeza said the main ward at the orthopaedic centre has 40 beds, but it is always full. “Boda boda accidents are causing overcrowding in the casualty ward. The hospital is overstretched due to boda boda accidents.”

Uganda, said Beyeza, is the second country in Africa with the highest number of disastrous accidents mainly due to the boda bodas. “Accidents are also hurting the economy. Something has to be done and now,” he added.

As the Police put their foot down, 897 motorcycles were impounded in two weeks in Kampala, 175 riders arrested and 22 taken to court.

A total of 399 spot penalty tickets were issued for offences that ranged from lack of helmets and third party to ignoring traffic lights, overloading and riding on pavements.

Both Kasiima and Nabakooba expressed optimism that the ongoing traffic Police crackdown on errant riders would solve the problem.

However, some politicians have hijacked the show by supporting the riders to oppose the operation.

One such politician is Kampala Central MP, Erias Lukwago, who recently asked the Police to stop the crackdown and sensitise the boda boda riders on safer road usage.

However, Nabakooba responded to the politician’s resistance saying the Police crackdown was to save his supporters’ lives.

“Politicians should join hands with the Police because we are trying to protect their voters to give them mandate to sit in Parliament,” Nabakooba said.

Boda Boda Accident Statistics
From January to May 2008 about 325 people got serious injuries as a result of boda bodas.

Boda bodas are responsible for 50% of the accidents in Kampala city
Every month five people die as a result of boda boda accidents.

Boda boda accident victims dominate the 40-bed casualty ward in Mulago Hospital

Uganda is ranked the second country in Africa with the highest number of road accidents mainly due to boda bodas

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