Chief Superintendent Cliff Filer recently welcomed Dr Charles Msiska, District Medical Officer, from the Chongwe District in Zambia and Travers Merrill of ABESU UK to South Wales Police Headquarters’ Public Service Centre.
Dr Msiska is part of a team who are working in partnership with Cardiff and the Vale University Board to pilot a project in the Chongwe District of Zambia, which aims to improve the outcomes for road traffic accident casualties.
There is virtually no rail network in Zambia and therefore most transportation is by road. The Great East Road is the only highway linking the Eastern Province with the rest of the country and carries very high volumes of traffic of every sort. Vehicles are regularly overloaded; poorly serviced and mechanical breakdowns are repaired on the side of the road. The risk to pedestrians is also high particularly at night due to poor roadside and vehicle lights.
From 2009 to 2011 road traffic accidents in the District increased from 479 to 1116, an increase of 133%.
As part of this fact finding visit, Dr. Msiska and his colleagues met with a number of key policy and operational managers in Wales to identify good practice.
Chief Superintendent Cliff Filer provided an overview of UK road legislation, and measures taken by South Wales Police and partners such as DVLA to help prevent road traffic accidents. This was followed by a tour of the Public Service Centre by Superintendent Tony Smith to highlight the importance of effective communication in providing a quality emergency care service.
Chief Superintendent Cliff Filer said:
“For Dr. Msiska my key word was ‘prevention’. Work to prevent road travel accidents so that there is less need for a ‘cure’. In Zambia, and the Chongwe District in particular, this means starting with the basics and ensuring that vehicles are roadworthy and drivers regulated.”
Dr. Msiska said:
“It was very helpful to see how South Wales Police operates. This is the high level of service that we aspire to.”
Travers Merrill, ABESU UK, added:
“Meeting the team at South Wales Police today was very beneficial. The Zambian Government are working hard to develop the infrastructure to support the emergency services in the Chongwe District, and we really appreciate the input from experts like Chief Superintendent Filer and his team.”
ABESU means ‘Ours’ in Bemba, the local language in Zambia, and is a registered UK charity. ABESU supports initiatives designed to advance sustainable responses to the relief of poverty in Africa.