Sin­ga­pore funds two more first aid out­posts along ‘death high­way’

The Myanmar Times - - News - MYINT KAY THI my­in­tkaythi@mm­times.com

SIN­GA­PORE Red Cross has do­nated US$360,000 to sup­port build­ing two ad­di­tional first aid sta­tions along the Yangon-Man­dalay “death high­way”.

The two new sta­tions will be es­tab­lished at the 40 mile post and the 320 mile post of the main artery link­ing the two cities, ac­cord­ing to the Myan­mar Red Cross So­ci­ety. Each emer­gency out­post will op­er­ate 24-hours ev­ery day and will pro­vide pre-hospi­tal triage and am­bu­lances to trans­port crash vic­tims to the near­est hospi­tal.

“The con­struc­tion of the two aid posts should be com­pleted by the end of 2017,” said Dr Tha Hla Shwe, pres­i­dent of the MRCS.

The fund­ing from Sin­ga­pore will also be used to train ad­di­tional vol­un­teers in firest aid so they can help staff the emer­gency out­posts.

The MRCS has been pro­vid­ing am­bu­lance ser­vices on the high­way since Novem­ber 2011, and launched the aid post scheme in 2013 with an ini­tial sta­tion at the 115 mile rest stop. A sec­ond aid sta­tion was built at mile­post 285.

Ac­cord­ing to a World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion sur­vey, Myan­mar is sec­ond­worst for road deaths per capita in the South­east Asian re­gion. The fa­tal­i­ties climb an­nu­ally. In the first six months of this year, an av­er­age of 13.9 peo­ple were killed ev­ery day in road ac­ci­dents, up from the 2015 av­er­age of 11.6.

Dr Maw Oo, head of the Yangon Gen­eral Hospi­tal’s emer­gency room, said at the be­gin­ning of this year that am­bu­lance ser­vices along the road­way could be crit­i­cal to sav­ing lives. In any given week, of the 2500-3000 emer­gency pa­tients com­ing to the hospi­tal, more than 10 die en route, he said.

Over $273,000 from the do­nated funds will be used to build the two new sta­tions, while $93,626 is ear­marked for train­ings and equip­ment to sup­port safety vol­un­teers from 150 town­ships across the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing inked on July 29.

“Sin­ga­pore Red Cross has do­nated over $273,000 to help its Myan­mar coun­ter­part build two first aid posts, com­plete with one am­bu­lance for each post. We will con­tinue to sup­port this im­por­tant work,” said Ben­jamin Je­yaraj Wil­liam, sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Sin­ga­pore Red Cross.

Most ac­ci­dents along the Yan­gonMan­dalay high­way are at­trib­uted to driver er­ror, but en­gi­neers have also ad­mit­ted that the road is badly de­signed and was rushed in con­struc­tion, leav­ing it de­void of many in­ter­na­tional safety fea­tures. A to­tal of 4313 deaths oc­curred along the road in 2014. A Hlegu town­ship mo­tor­cy­cle taxi driver was at­tacked by his pas­sen­ger in a set up on July 29. Ko Naung Naung picked up a K500 fare and drove the pas­sen­ger, whose name is not known, to Pip­egyi­well vil­lage. En route, they were stopped by another man who was wait­ing on a mo­tor­cy­cle hold­ing a bam­boo stick. The pas­sen­ger and the man with the stick, Ko Htay Win, 20, spoke to one another, be­fore the man with the bam­boo stick be­gan to beat taxi driver Ko Naung Naung. Ko Naung Naung jumped into a sewer next to the road. The men threw a brick at him. The un­known pas­sen­ger grabbed the driver’s bag, which con­tained K2500 and a phone, and ran away. Vil­lagers ar­rived and spot­ted the fight. Ko Htay Win was ar­rested and is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Po­lice are pur­su­ing charges un­der sec­tions 114 and 394 of the pe­nal code, for abet­ting a crime and caus­ing hurt while com­mit­ting a rob­bery, which could re­sult in up to 10 years in prison. – Toe Wai Aung, trans­la­tion by Khant

Lin Oo, Emoon and San Layy

Photo: Staff

A bus in­volved in a road ac­ci­dent al­long the Yangon-Man­dalay high­way awaits as­sis­tance.

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