Zoleka Mandela, grand-daughter of Nelson Mandela speaks at the commissioning of the project

Amend, the Child Health Initiative and their government partners have installed proven, life-saving infrastructure measures such as footpaths, zebra crossings and speed humps outside the Oblogo Cluster of Schools.

The Oblogo Cluster of Schools is located near a major intersection where vehicles travel at a high speed in close proximity to pedestrians.

This puts more than 90% of children who walk to and from school at high risk of road traffic injury. In recent years, a number of pupils at the schools have been killed and injured in road traffic.

With the installation of the new infrastructure, that is expected to change.

Granddaughter of the former South African President, Nelson Mandela, Zoleka Mandela joined the Minister of Transport, the Director General of the National Road Safety Authority, the Municipal Chief Executive of the Weija- Gbawe Municipal Assembly and many others cut the ribbon on this new, life-saving infrastructure for children.

Zoleka, a Child Health Initiative Global Ambassador said the lifesaving project proves that road traffic injury is preventable.

“Our work, led by the Amend NGO, will reduce injuries and save lives. We want to see every single child in Ghana given a safe journey to school – this is entirely achievable. There’s absolutely no excuse for inaction.

“This must become a priority for our policy makers. Ghana can help lead the way on our continent in tackling this leading killer of young people. Let’s see scaled-up action urgently,” she added.

Municipal Chief Executive of Weija-Gbawe, Patrick Kwasi Brako Kumor

Country Manager of Amend Ghana, Juliet Adu, said globally, and particularly in Africa, young people under 30 years are the largest group of people being killed and seriously injured in road traffic crashes.

“The situation is no different in Ghana, where you are more than likely to see school children running to cross multi-lane roads or walking on roadways because there are inadequate provisions to keep them safe on their journeys to school.

“That’s why the Child Health Initiative and Amend have partnered to provide this life-saving infrastructure to help improve safety around schools like the Oblogo Cluster of Schools where children have been killed and seriously injured in recent years. We are grateful for the support we continue to receive from our partners to preserve the lives of our future leaders.”

The road infrastructure has been assessed using the “Star Rating for Schools” methodology. This measures the safety of a child’s journey to school from one to five stars (five being the safest) and provides an evidence base from which recommendations to improve road safety can be made.

Post- assessment of the infrastructure improvements will be carried out following the launch.

Child pedestrians are among the highest-risk groups in Ghana for road traffic injury. Unlike their peers in wealthier countries, the vast majority of school children in urban parts of Ghana walk to school, and they usually do so unaccompanied by an adult. A child in Africa is twice as likely to die on the roads as a child in any other region of the world.

Fortunately, the ways to prevent these injuries are well understood, and include separating children from traffic and slowing vehicle speeds where children and traffic interact.

That’s why, since 2016, Amend and the Child Health Initiative in partnership with the Ghana Education Service, National Road Safety Authority, Department of Urban Roads, Ministry of Transport, Ghana Police Service and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies have been working to reduce vehicle speeds and provide safe pedestrian infrastructure – footpaths, zebra crossings, speed humps, road signs, and more – around schools in Accra.

Accra and Ghana have made great strides in recent years to help make children safer on the roads, including providing road safety infrastructure and education, implementation of 30km/h speed limits around schools and participating in the development of the Pedestrian Action Plan for the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.

But much work remains to be done to ensure that all of Ghana’s children are safe as they travel to and from school every day. This initiative by Amen Ghana shows that life-saving infrastructure measures are affordable, popular, and ready to put in place.