Under the patronage of H.E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and in the presence of H.E. Sheikh Adbul Rahman bin Khalifa Al Thani, Minister of Municipality and Urban Planning, the 24th World International Traffic Medicine Association (ITMA) Congress Kicked Off today at Doha Sheraton hotel in Doha under the theme ‘Traffic Medicine and Road Safety in the Fast Developing Countries’ from 16-18 of this month.
H.E Abdullah bin Khalid Al Qahtani, Minister of Public Health, Staff Maj. Gen. Saad bin Jassim Al Khulaifi, Director general of Public Security, Dr. Larsh Englund, President of ITMA, Eng. Nasser Al Mawlawi, President of Ashghal, Brig. Muhammed Saad Al Kharji, Director general of Traffic, Brig. Muhammed bin Awad Al Rawas, Director general of the Traffic, Oman, Brig. Muhammed Al Malki, Secretary general of the National Traffic Safety Committee and Chairman of the ITMA Congress organizing committee and a big number of traffic medicine and safety experts and specialists from around the world attended the opening ceremony of the 24th ITMA congress.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the congress, H.E Abdullah bin Khalid Al Qahtani, the minister of public health said that the congress has high importance as it discusses many subjects and issues related with traffic medicine and road safety in order to find out the best practices and ensuring contribution of all concerned parties for making our roads a safer one.
The statistics of the road accidents victims all over the world have reached at the maximum level and this requires the cooperation of all parties for finding out best solutions for securing safety on our roads, reducing the numbers of the victims of the road accidents and improving the offered services for the injured in the accidents through providing best treatment for them, while the WHO alerts us about the approximate number of the deaths resulted from traffic accidents as 1.3 million people and 20 to 50 million injuries annually, the minister added.
‘In Qatar, we are keen to give high importance for medical care as it is related with health and safety of the human being and we have made strategies, programs and projects in this field and also we work closely with Ministry of Interior for executing the parts related with the health in the National Strategy for Traffic Safety. The national strategy for the health has specialized in its important projects a significant part for this issues which is the ‘National Strategy for Road Safety’ said the minister of the public health.
On the other side, the medical rehabilitation services have witnessed a drastic development in State of Qatar, in spite of population increase. It includes all necessary services to be provided to the victims of accidents like development of ambulance services, emergency services, medical and nursing care…etc. It has also introduced different rehabilitation programs keeping various standards and services for medical and mental rehabilitation and also mental and social support. To accomplish all these services we have introduced social rehabilitation center to take care of injured as they will be kept here after taking necessary medical support from hospitals. This center provides a homely atmosphere and will be considered as a transmitting stage for their social integration. It also launches some important projects, among which Qatar Rehabilitation Center, scheduled to be opened in next year is very significant. It is a special center which provides medical and diagnostic and rehabilitation programs for the injured, added the Public Health Minister.
Some of the ambitious projects of the Ministry of Public Health are ‘Qatar Harrak Center’ which is a group of specialized clinics for evaluating the drivers and ‘Special needs Training Centre’ for training the special needs on driving and preparing the vehicles according to their needs. In addition to this, we are planning to add this center a department for the researches in the field of traffic medicine, road engineering and road safety, said Dr. Al Qahtani.
Addressing the congress, Dr. Lars Englund (Sweden), President of the International Traffic Medicine Association (ITMA) briefed on the history of ITMA. He pointed out that the concept of Traffic Medicine was introduced in 1963 within a small group of doctors in Italy who were concerned in studies on traffic accidents and its relationship to the medicine. The idea was later on developed with the inclusion of doctors, engineers and other experts in this field.
He pointed out that the firm has realized significant achievements in various aspects significantly the use of technology inside vehicle. He underscored that our mission prefers to prevention, then treatment and then rehabilitation. He said that it was his 13th ITMA congress here in Qatar and expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the organizers for the topmost organization of the event with wider participation from all continents in the world.
Addressing the gathering, the president of the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) Eng. Nasser Al Mawlawi said that the Ashghal is honoured to participate in ITMA Congress and the Ashghal is giving higher priority to the Traffic Safety during the implementing of huge projects these days. He then mentioned that the National Traffic Safety Strategy includes various initiatives and work plans. Ashghal is implanting 34 initiatives and work plans and this is in addition to the launching of Traffic Control Manual. Also he said that the Ashghal is executing a program to enhance the traffic Safety in the area around schools which includes more than 200 schools and we start implementing the international traffic safety programme for more than 1500 KM of roads. Eng. Al Mawlawi concluded his speech urging all entities to work collaboratively with each other to overcome all the difficulties for the development of safe transportation network in Qatar.
During his speech, the Director General of Traffic Brig. Muhammed Saad Al Kharji elaborated the size of difficulties that face the countries in term of road accidents which contribute in human, financial and social loss. He said the traffic accidents cause 1.3 million fatalities and from 20 to 50 million injuries annually and the traffic accidents will cause death for about 1.9 million people in 2020. He added that to face this actual situation, some action have been implemented through the traffic law no 19 for 2007. Traffic law implements strict punishments on traffic violations and crimes which lead to the reduction of traffic fatalities. He then added that, recently, some amendments have been occurred on the traffic law to achieve strict surveillance and more traffic safety and the development of driving learning schools whether in the theoretical or practical fields have also contributed in reduction of traffic accidents. He praised full cooperation between traffic department and Ashghal in terms of road design and construction. There is ambitious plan to signalization of all Roundabouts and to construct many pedestrian bridges to increase the traffic safety and to reduce the knock over accidents. He said because the traffic department strongly believes in the connection
between medicine and traffic safety, traffic department is interested to participate in all activities and programs that Hamad Medical corporation implements. Brig. Al Kharji concluded his speech assuring that the traffic department and National Traffic Safety Committee will implement all the outcomes of the congress.
Having economic and social impact, the traffic safety is one of the complicated issues which called for an immediate action to solve this problem. Mentioning to the causes he said that the abundance and danger of accidents especially in developing countries make it more intricate. Secondly, it is mandatory to coordinate among different inter related aspects, like good roads, roadworthy vehicles and appropriate medical support…etc., said Brig. Mohammed bin Ewad Al Rawas, General director of traffic department of Oman.
Some countries agree with this problem, but they do nothing to face it. By the increased awareness of this problem and seeking more global cooperation and desire in reducing accident rate, the UN has put a global Action plan 2011-2020 under UN secretary general. Many countries including Sultanate of Oman have signed the agreement, he added.
Oman is like other countries facing the same problem. However, Oman had taken steps to make the country safer. H.H. Sultan of Oman formed a national committee for road safety in 1997, and the Sultanate participated in UN initiative in 2003. Aftermath this conference it conducted a seminar on traffic safety in 2010 and put a complete national strategy for safety on roads. By all these initiatives we could reduce 50% of death rate, 30% of injuries and 16% of accidents, said the Brig. Al Rawas.
On behalf of the Maersk Oil Qatar, sponsor of the congress, addressing the audience, Muhammed Badar Al Dafa said that the company is proud in partnership with Ministry of Interior, National Committee for Traffic Safety and Hamad General Hospital as this partnership will contribute to achieving overall benefit at a long-term. As a major global company operating the world’s biggest marine oil plant in Qatar, we can value and appreciate the efforts spent by the Ministry of Interior and associated departments working for easing the daily traffic movements on the roads in different parts of the country, said Al Dafa.
He also said that we are a socially responsible company, we can say that the health and safety are two of the most important values deeply related to our institutional work and culture and we consider it is our duty to
make a positive impact in the countries we work and live and interact with those communities. Despite the fact that the road safety is not within the scope of Our expertise but we are still committed to supporting the State of Qatar and the objectives of the national vision for the year 2030 for building a healthier, secured and safer nation.
We started working with Ministry of Interior before two years by announcing a road safety initiative called ‘One Second’ which was one of the best work on road safety. In addition to this, we associated with Ministry of Interior in many projects and programs like children’s car seat program and school children safety program. We are proud on the constant positive impact for these programs and are confident that we are on right way towards ensuring safety on the roads of Qatar, Al Dafa concluded his speech.
Delivering the final speech of the opening ceremony, Brigadier Muhammed Abdullah Al Maliki, Secretary General of the National Road Safety Committee pointed out that the the biggest challenges, especially faced by the fast developing countries are the direct negative impacts caused by the traffic movement and other impacts resulted from this such as accidents and traffic congestion which disrupt the social life and waste the time and increase the economic burden on the state.
He then added that the studies conducted by the UN-Habitat – United Nations Human Settlements Programme shows the inefficiency of urban planning and traffic methods in most countries of the world. The human population has increased to 50% for the first time and the world today is witnessing more than one billion registered cars in addition to more than 1.3 million and three hundred thousand deaths in most of the cities
He concluded his speech saying that organization of this congress brings together the experience and experts of the countries in providing excellent medical services to the injured in road accidents as well as measures in traffic safety. Report: Zahir Abbasi, QNA/Caye Global/Qatar Gulf News