The struggle for safer roads in Myanmar and Singapore

Published: 12 September 2013 10:00 CET
The Myanmar Red Cross Society and the Singapore Red Cross Society have worked together to build a first-aid post on the motorway, and to re-introduce ambulance services.

Myanmar is a country dealing with rapid growth and change. As interest in business grows, traffic on the motorway between the major cities of Yangon and Naypyidaw has been increasing rapidly, making it one of the country’s most dangerous roads. 

To reduce these dangers, and to provide a more rapid response when accidents occur, the Myanmar Red Cross Society and the Singapore Red Cross Society have worked together to build a first-aid post on the motorway, and to re-introduce ambulance services. 

Shwe Cin Myint, head of communications for the Myanmar Red Cross Society, said the initiative would mean a faster response and more lives saved. “It will cut the time in half for victims of road collision to receive medical attention.” The motorway has seen more than 140 road collisions and 20 deaths in the past year.

Despite warning signs, people continue to drive at excessive speeds, and there have even been a number of cases where drivers have fallen asleep, putting other road users at risk. Both National Societies have developed expertise in first aid that is critical after a road accident, and recognize the role they can play alongside emergency services.

"Time is a very important factor in first aid and saving lives,” says Lim Theam Poh, Deputy Secretary General of the Singapore Red Cross Society. “Together, with our strong network and skills in first aid, we can take action that is certain to have a meaningful impact.”

The first-aid post and ambulance support are part of larger efforts by the society to improve first aid provision in Myanmar. For the next two years, the two National Societies will lead a joint campaign on first aid and safety, with the support of community leaders. The campaign will stress the importance of making first-aid training available to everyone, as it benefits the entire community.

On 14 September, World First Aid Day, the Singapore Red Cross Society will launch a series of inexpensive training courses for first aiders in cooperation with the local Agency of Integrated Care. For more information, visit www.redcross.org.sg

In the run up to World First Aid Day, the Myanmar Red Cross Society will hold a number of competitions in Yangon drawing attention to vital life-saving skills. The opening competition will take place between 12 and 13 September for first-aid instructors, with subsequent competitions targeting a further 85 participants. There will also be an essay-writing competition based on volunteers’ success stories of using first aid, as well as a road safety poster drawing contest.

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Everyone everywhere

The Red Cross Red Crescent worldwide is asking for legislative provisions to make first aid training compulsory for every individual seeking to obtain a driving licence. Based on our experience as the world’s leading first aid provider and educator, we also recognize that first aid training is essential for all people at all stages of their life – at home, in school, at the workplace. First aid is for everyone, everywhere.

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