Late Trisha Cee (©Facebook)
By Rose Anthony Tikimo
As a nation, we like to point fingers and blame others without giving ourselves the chance to evaluate the situation, our emotions control us rather than us controlling them. Who allowed the truck drivers to drive through Juba’s roads without regulations in place?
How can we know that the truck driver was wrong and not the boda boda driver? Are there road safety measures in place? It doesn’t make sense that we’re demanding the banning of Eritreans and Ethiopians instead of demanding the law to be changed for there to be regulations for everyone to provide updated driving licences and to also hold the healthcare system accountable for their negligence and irresponsibility. One thing that surprised me the most is that women aren’t allowed to donate their blood in South Sudan- that’s shocking!! How can we save lives if the law still undervalues women even in emergencies? Remember there were many factors involved in Trisha Cee’s death: the lack of emergency services, the blood bank being closed for people to donate, with women not being allowed to donate when it is open, hospitals lacking blood 24/7 for transfusions and only allowing doctors to administer blood to the patients. It’s really painful to hear all the lives that have been lost due to a lack of everything in a country rich with oil and natural resources.
What happened in the incident of the musician Trisha Cee was a sad tragedy and wasn’t acceptable on any level from loose traffic laws to the lack of accountability from the healthcare system where everyone acts and behaves in a careless manner. A hospital should have access to blood 24/7 and people who are taking blood shouldn’t only be doctors or one specific person. A doctor’s work is not to bring blood to wards or units or take a patient’s blood unless a phlebotomist, healthcare science assistant or registered nurse is unable to do it.
A blood bank is also run by multiple professionals from medical and clinical laboratory technologist, clinical nurses responsible for donations, managers, phlebotomist technicians, staff to label and prepare blood to an administration team and many more to make sure access to blood is easier for everyone who needs it and so people who want to donate blood can do it knowing there’s staff available during opening hours. Unfortunately in our country even phlebotomists call themselves doctors. A hospital is run by an army; for any hospital to run smoothly you need directors, managers, head of departments and so on, not everything run by doctors. In most successful hospitals, doctors are the minority of staff and their job is to diagnose, and surgeons work in theatres (غرفة عمليات) to carry out surgery, even theatres have an army of staff not run by surgeons only. Our country as a whole needs change and the healthcare system needs laws that will hold any healthcare worker accountable for their negligence and lazy behaviour and the government needs to introduce background checks for those who want to work with vulnerable people. A patient’s family should have the right to complain - the law must protect them and that’s what we should be demanding from our government. If we just focus our anger only on foreign drivers that means we’re giving the government a free ride to not be accountable for failing us over and over.
Traffic laws must be strict, not just banning Eritreans and Ethiopians from driving trucks but banning everyone not qualified to drive; they need to prove their licences and if their licence is from a different country they need to retake the safety driving tests including South Sudanese who are coming from abroad. If we’re pointing fingers and demanding the government to ban Eritreans and Ethiopians only from delivering water, what’s the difference between us and those countries that discriminate against foreigners? Not all of them are bad drivers nor are all boda boda drivers innocent. Also, who is going to replace them in delivering the water? Why are we asking the government to give the jobs to South Sudanese? We’re talking as if the government was preventing South Sudanese from doing this job in the first place. We are all very aware that no South Sudanese wants to do any jobs without titles, all of us are musicians, doctors, lawyers and politicians. What we need is to test all truck drivers and see if they are capable of driving the trucks.
Before we ask the government to ban them we should ask ourselves what changes will that bring? Most South Sudanese themselves are driving recklessly in the streets, anyone can jump behind the wheel and in a boda boda without passing a driving test, so we should hold the government accountable as well for failing to introduce strict laws that prevent the loss of countless innocent lives from road accidents. I myself lost my maternal cousin in a road accident a few months ago in Juba by a careless South Sudanese driver while she was a pedestrian.
We should demand the government to implement new traffic laws which have an age limit for those who own boda bodas, and they should pass a motorcycle test before owning one alongside wearing helmets with their passengers.
Not everyone who has a car licence can drive a truck, people should pass a special test to drive vans, buses and trucks.
Train paramedic staff, provide ambulances to rescue trauma patients and make an emergency response line number a priority.
Most trauma patients in South Sudan wouldn’t survive because of a lack of emergency services and community healthcare workers. When a person has an accident they should be lifted by trained emergency service staff, first aid trained individuals or emergency service responders should guide individuals through the phone on what to do in the absence of an ambulance or trained staff. Unfortunately these services aren’t available either and in this situation it is mostly the family members, friends or kind-hearted crowds acting as the emergency services, which could add severe damage to the patient’s body. I know they want to help but what they were not aware of is the consequences of wrong lifting, rolling and carrying.
In a country that’s lacking emergency services, everyone should take training in first aid. Also, why are ambulances only available for dead bodies but not for saving lives?
Here I am sharing guidance from the NHS and first aid in how to help someone in a trauma situation:
Be careful how and when you move patients.
If a person has been hit by a car, and they are lying on their back unconscious and breathing and has no life-threatening conditions– they should be carefully rolled into the recovery position to keep their spine in line. Putting someone in the recovery position will keep their airway clear and open. It also ensures that any vomit or fluid won't cause them to choke.
If a person has been hit by a car or thrown from one and they are conscious in the road, they should try to keep still in the same position. Ensure that someone is directing traffic and maintaining safety. Support their head and neck, keep them warm and dry and wait for the emergency services, if there’s one.
Guidance on how to put someone into the recovery position:
- With the person lying on their back, kneel on the floor at their side.
- Extend the arm nearest you at a right angle to their body with their palm facing up.
- Take their other arm and fold it so the back of their hand rests on the cheek closest to you, and hold it in place.
- Use your free hand to bend the person's knee farthest from you to a right angle.
- Carefully roll the person onto their side by pulling on the bent knee.
- Their bent arm should be supporting the head, and their extended arm will stop you rolling them too far.
- Make sure their bent leg is at a right angle.
- Open their airway by gently tilting their head back and lifting their chin, and check that nothing is blocking their airway.
- Stay with the person and monitor their condition until help arrives.
If you think a person may have a spinal injury, do not attempt to move them until the emergency services reach you, that’s why I said before we should demand our government to provide us with emergency services to reduce the severity of damage sustained by accidence. Anyhow, follow the guidance below in case there aren’t any available trained individuals coming to help:
If it's necessary to open their airway, place your hands on either side of their head and gently lift their jaw with your fingertips to open the airway. Take care not to move their neck.
You should suspect a spinal injury if the person:
- has been involved in an incident that's directly affected their spine, such as a fall from height or being struck directly in the back
- complains of severe pain in their neck or back
- won't move their neck
- feels weak, numb or paralysed
- has lost control of their limbs, bladder or bowels
Let us demand change and accountability, and not discriminate against certain groups because some of them cause us pain. Our emotions sometimes make us say things that we will regret later. Two wrongs don't make a right.
© Rose Anthony Tikimo
Rose Tikimo is a poet, health worker, mental health advocate and human rights activist, and a mother living in the UK. She is also the founder of a community- interest enterprise company called Beyond The Nile (BTN).
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