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Gaps in road accidents can be focal point for post-trauma natural disaster management: Dr Rita Savla 

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WCDM – Day 3

By RATNAJYOTI DUTTA  

DEHRADUN, 30 Nov: In sync with its special coverage of the Sixth Edition of the World Congress on Disaster Management, Garhwal Post brings an exclusive interview with Dr Rita Savla, Founder Director of Mumbai-based RADHEE Disaster and Education Foundation.

In the interview, Dr Savla talks about post-disaster (in case of road accidents) trauma management scenarios and corrective measures for improvement. The prevalent scenario for trauma management for road accidents can be a reference point to understand similar post-disaster scenarios for natural calamities.

When India, a multi-disaster-prone country, has a better response system for saving lives and preventing disability of day-to-day road accident victims in place, then the country would be in a better position to deal with mass casualties happening during disasters like landslides, earthquake for saving life and preventing disabilities.

Some excerpts from the Interview:

Why should India focus on the subject of Trauma Management?

Out of 27 types of disasters identified internationally, the incidents of road and rail accidents fall under the category of man-made disasters. Every minute one person becomes permanently disabled and every third minute one person dies due to a road accident. Road accidents are labelled as a pandemic.   

Due to climate change and global warming, various incidents of natural disasters such as cloud bursts, and landslides have increased. Experts are predicting major earthquakes in the Himalayas. So, it becomes very important to develop a system for trauma management so that during any disaster fatalities and disabilities could be minimised. 

What is the Indian government doing to save the lives of road accident victims? 

Various efforts have been made to save the lives of road accident victims. Those include free 48 hours of medical treatment, setting up trauma centres at black spots and many more efforts have been made to save the lives of road accident victims. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts, more people have died on Indian roads due to an ad-hoc firefighting unplanned approach.

How does road accident trauma management preparedness impact overall disaster preparedness? 

We have an inability to handle scientifically daily road accident victims. It also means a lack of a system to handle mass casualties which can cause more fatalities and disability.

Why with every effort more people are dying on Indian Roads or post-disaster? 

Currently, the Indian government is not working on a scientific, holistic, trained, and equipped approach towards post-accident trauma management.  

RADHEE Disaster and Education Foundation is a non-profit organisation having expertise in post-accident trauma management. It has found the gap in current practices and also developed a framework to address every minute gap in the system to handle injured victims. The government has yet to take corrective steps to address each gap in a planned approach to improve existing practices.

Why is the Indian government not accepting the gap analysis done by RADHEE?

Post-accident/disaster trauma management is a multi-department response system, and all the government departments are working in silos.

What is the International Scenario? 

According to the MORTH 2021 report, survival chances in most countries are 20-40 times higher as compared to India. If many countries can develop an infrastructure for scientific, holistic trained equipped help, then we can also do so. It matches Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 10-point agenda of zero deaths due to preventable measures.

What can the Indian government do to save the lives of road accident victims? 

All the departments concerned along with National and State Disaster Management Authorities should adopt a collaborative approach and work under the guidance of subject matter experts to address every gap in a planned manner. Once a trauma management system is developed to save the life of road accident victims, then we can claim to have a system in place to handle mass casualties happening during disasters.