How tuning in to the radio is saving lives in Tanzania

Publié: 12 septembre 2013 10:00 CET

By Rebecca Lefort, British Red Cross 

Good morning, Tanzania! On your dial today, a little music, some chit chat, and how to save a life! For listeners more accustomed to the latest tunes, Radio Victory’s Usalama Wetu programme – Kiswahili for “Our Safety” – might not be quite what they had expected with their breakfast.

The programme, broadcast in conjunction with the Tanzania Red Cross National Society, is proving to be a vital component in the battle to tackle road accidents and prevent deaths in the northern Tanzanian region of Mara.  

Every year, nearly 100 people are killed on the region’s roads. The radio show, which is broadcast to thousands of people in northern Tanzania, is part of the urgent action being taken to solve the problem. With hard-hitting messages such as ‘driving + phone = death’, the charismatic host talks passionately about the need to follow the rules of the road with his guests Ngodoki Chupa, the Red Cross branch manager of Mara, and two local policemen.   

They also answer questions from callers, with one lamenting the fact that first-aid kits are rarely available on buses. “This is a great opportunity for us to connect directly with people and spread vital first aid and safety messages,” says Chupa. 

“Road accidents are a big problem here, claiming far too many lives. Working with the police and local communities, we are making a huge difference; reducing accidents and their impact by spreading first aid knowledge.” 

Promoting first aid is a key part of Red Cross work in the region. Volunteers teach bus and motorcycle drivers vital life-saving skills to be used in the event of an accident. The courses are extremely popular, and have reached thousands of people, a factor credited with keeping the death rate stable despite a huge increase in the number of motorcycles on the roads in recent years. 

James Kisyeri, 47, a motorcycle owner with five children, is particularly grateful for the first-aid training he received. “I was on my motorcycle with a female passenger,” he says. “Another motorcycle swerved and collided with us. There was a big bang. The woman went into shock. She was dizzy and really upset. I laid her down and told people to leave some space around her so she could get air. I did the first aid for treating shock and lifted her legs. I am so pleased I was able to help.”


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.