Guwahati, March 8, 2015: The honorable Minister for Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Health & Family Welfare, Government of Assam, Dr. Nazrul Islam, today launched the North East Association for Road Safety (NEARS) at the first North East Road Safety Summit organized in Guwahati by GNRC, the first super-specialty hospital in North East India. GNRC will provide the initial corpus for the association, from the organisation’s CSR fund. At the Summit, the honourable Health Minister also launched a social service scheme titled GNRC Accident Card, which provides medical care to members – in the unfortunate event of an accident befalling them.

To address the pressing need for a solution to curb road accidents in the region, GNRC organized the North East Road Safety Summit. Road traffic accidents (RTA) have silently become an epidemic snuffing out lives, especially of the youth, in North East daily. RTA has emerged as the leading cause of death in 15 – 44 years age group, show records, and is adversely affecting the region’s socio-economic health. Six out of eight North Eastern states are categorized as high road accident death prone areas, according to the National Crime Bureau Report 2013. In 2013, RTA accounted for 52.2% accidental deaths in Nagaland, 50.4% accidental deaths in Assam, 47.6% accidental deaths in Manipur, 46.7 % in Arunachal Pradesh, 40.8% in Mizoram and 37.7% in Tripura, surpassing the national average of 36.4%.

Dr. Islam inaugurated the summit, where representative from four Es: (i) Education; (ii) Enforcement; (iii) Engineering; and (iv) Emergency Care assembled at the NEDFi Auditorium, to formulate a roadmap to tackle the menace of RTA in the North-East. Several representatives from education institutions, enforcement agencies, media and engineering services attended the event.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Nazrul Islam, said: “I would like to commend GNRC and Dr. Borah for facilitating this single platform for all stakeholders to assemble, discuss and formulate a solution for better management and care of Road Traffic Accidents. It is imperative that the four Es collaborate to assess the situation and formulate the solution – as each of these disciplines brings a unique perspective to Road Safety, which is a community issue. An integrated approach, including defining clear roles and responsibilities for everyone would set the direction for a change in culture – a culture in which fatalities and serious injuries on our roads are not accepted as inevitable and which strives to prevent them from occurring.”

At the summit, Dr. Atanu Borthakur, Director of Accident and Emergency department of GNRC Ltd  presented the report on ‘State of Youth Health: Road Traffic Accidents – An Emerging Epidemic’, prepared by compiling and analyzing data from records of over 25 years maintained by GNRC and various other publicly available sources. The report highlighted that young people aged between 15-44 years were the primary victims of road accidents in the state.

Dr. Nomal Chandra Borah, Chairman cum Managing Director of GNRC Ltd said, “As conscionable members of society, we, at GNRC, aim to progress in the direction of our guiding principle – ‘Health for All and Smiles for All’, through the formulation of a roadmap with representatives from 4Es to curb road accidents in the region and by conducting a dedicated year-long programme with their support to ensure the health of young members of our society.”

On the occasion, Dr. Navanil Barua, Director of Neurosurgery at GNRC requested the media personnel present to contribute by spreading the message of road safety as much as possible. “The primary cause of alarming number of road accidents is lack of adequate persuasive communication about road safety. Only media can help us take this message of road safety to the masses, and thereby serve the cause of society-building and nation-building”, he said.

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