GreenLight Initiative, a nonprofit organisation says it is paternering health and road management organisations to train 360 truck and ambulance drivers across the six geopolitical zones in the country on safety measures.
Mr Simon Obi, the Executive Director of the Initiative, disclosed this at the training tagged ‘Safety Training for Truck and Ambulance Drivers during COVID-19’ on Tuesday in Abuja.
Obi said that the training was aimed at empowering the drivers with safety knowledge as well as develop and implement a COVID-19 safety response.
According to him, the initiative is also partnering the Ambulance Service Division of the Federal Ministry Health and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to implement the training in the six geopolitical zones.
He said this was in commemoration of the 2020 World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims while other trainings would take place in Gombe, Kano, Anambra, Rivers and Lagos State.
The founder said that the training modules were designed to empower the drivers and assist them with COVID-19 safety protocols.
He said that the beneficiaries would be thought basic infection prevention and control, basic first aid, appropriate and rationale use of personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as educate them on road safety measures.
“The training will enable the drivers to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19, enforce and advocate COVID-19 safety protocols as they deliver on their jobs.
“It will ensure that COVID-19 hospital supplies and logistics are delivered to hospitals in a safe and timely manner.”
He noted that many of the drivers operated without knowledge of road safety measures and such had resulted in injury, loss of lives and damage to medical and logistics equipment needed for a functional health supply chain.
He observed that between May and June, a video of an ambulance team, which tried to convey an alleged COVID-19 patient went viral because of the way the team poorly handled the patient without consideration to their personal safety.
“Incidence like this occurs daily and reflects the reality on ground in so many places within the country.”
Obi noted that since the discovery of the index case of COVID-19 virus on Feb. 27, in the country, the number of confirmed cases had continued to rise to a record figure of over 64,000 while fatalities had gone up to more than 1,154.
He also said that more than 80 per cent of the Nigeria economic activities were largely hinged on road transport, saying people and goods move from point A to B for daily lives duties.
He said that many people commute without applying safety protocols hence contributing to further spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Obi said that the key players in this area were motorists, who were responsible for truck and ambulance operation in Nigeria.
“Truck and ambulance drivers, who are responsible for the transportation of medical supplies, patients, and logistics needed for COVID-19 management in Nigeria are not trained and equipped.
“This is due to lack of resources to train, retrain, and to provide them with personal protective equipment.
“The negative effect of all these problems are spread across health, commodity, transportation and logistics challenges, unendurable workforce, lack of occupational safety practices and dangerous working environment.
“The training will involve provision of safety training for 360 trucks and Ambulances drivers who are responsible for the movement of hospitals supplies and COVID-19 logistics across the country,” he said.
In his remarks, the Federal Road Safety Corps Marshal, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, commended the group for such laudable project while urging the participants to utilise the opportunity and build on their capacities.
Oyeyemi, represented by Dr Amauche Nwaka, an Assistant Corps Marshal, said that “Road safety is everyone’s business, hence the need for collective collaboration to ensure the safety of all.”
He added that truck and ambulance drivers were a critical group in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 virus.
Similarly, Prof. Sylvia Okonkwo, the Chairperson, Board of Trustee, GreenLight, said that the programme was apt, adding that drivers as the front liners had significant roles to play in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus in the country.
She advised the participants to avail themselves of the opportunity in the training to improve their capacities.
Participants at the training, Mr Mende Cosmos and Mr Olalonggul Dafur, commended the initiative and pleaded for the training to be sustained.
GreenLight Initiative is a nonprofit organisation that works to improve road transportation safety and sustainable development through training.
It also carries out awareness creation, public enlightenment, and the implementation of evidence-backed interventions.