Around 22.6 fatalities per 100 thousand people in Lebanon are directly associated with road accidents, according to reports from the World Health Organization. Yes, that is considered as heavy losses if one takes on all the math involved into careful perspective. This translates to about 1,088 deaths, 12,340 injuries, and an estimated loss of a whopping 1.2 billion dollars per year. The real concern, however, is what happens when a both a nightmarish level of everyday traffic and roadside emergencies coincide?
The answer is clear, yet still needs to be taken into extra consideration. Today, a potential solution to this problem has finally come to fruition. UNDP Live Lebanon in partnership with the Ministry of Interior, municipalities, Civil Defense, Bank Audi and LBCI TV have empowered the launch of Moto Ambulance, taking place at Villa Audi within the Achrafieh district.
Indoors, key members including Mr. Samir Hanna (Chairman and Group CEO of Bank Audi), General Raymond Khattar (General Director of the Lebanese Civil Defense), Mrs. Celine Moyroud (UNDP Resident Representative a.i), and H.E. Mrs. Raya Haffar El Hassan (Minister of Interior and Municipalities) all took the time to proudly express their confidence in this future of real live-saving strategy and gave fundamental explanations such as how Moto Ambulance will be implemented and all the associated advantages that come with it. Alongside, all involved partners, sponsors, funders, and donors have been shown affectionate gratitude towards. UNDP Live Lebanon two Goodwill Ambassadors Ghaleb Faraha and Saada Alassad Fakhry have funded 6 moto ambulances for the first phase, while Bank Audi have announced at the ceremony that they are willing to fund 50 moto ambulances for the second phase. A great deal of credit especially goes as well to AUB’s Champs Fund organization, the Executive Secretary of the National Road Safety Council, and North Assurance, all of whom helped pioneer and enrich this innovative idea as a whole. Later taking place outdoors is where the interesting part happens. A real-life simulation mock test took place, showing us all how the process the Moto Ambulance’s response to a road accident emergency unfolds. A test subject was a living individual who lay still on the ground to mimic an unconscious road crash victim in need of medical help. Moments later a crew riding vibrant red motorcycles came rushing in. They then unpacked all the essential medical equipment and gave the test subject an oxygenated ventilator to breath, an electrocardiogram (ECG) test to check the heart’s rhythm, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if necessary to potentially try to revive the victim. As the victim was receiving imperative medical attention in order to be kept alive and stabilized at all costs, the ambulance then finally made its way to the location to pick him up and make way to the hospital to follow through on the medical treatment. According to H.E Raya Haffar El Hassan, “This initiative undoubtedly represents a leap towards the improvement of emergency services in Lebanon and will hopefully contribute to saving many lives.”
We all undoubtedly know how highly common and unbearable the level of Lebanon’s everyday road traffic can reach. On top of that, it only seems to get worse with time which is explainable regarding the obviously rising population, many cramped roads, accidents along the way, and constant construction maintenance of road sections and bridges. General Raymond Khattar indicated that “The increase in the population and in the number of cars has led to very heavy traffic citizens are suffering from and which is preventing ambulances from arriving on time; this is how the idea of using moto ambulances came up.” Simply put, motorcycles are significantly more maneuverable and pass through small spaces within traffic with ease unlike larger vehicles, let alone a bulky sized ambulance. This means the chances of them reaching an injured victim faster will always remain supremely unmatched especially in comparison to ambulances. The next major objective is to produce many more moto ambulances and trained staff, as well to expand their deployment coverage towards all Lebanese regions. Ms. Celine Moyroud seized the spotlight and clearly stated that “We know that the first few minutes for people that are injured are critical, with a survival rate expectancy above 65%. Today, we are glad to announce that their response time will greatly improve, with the provision of moto ambulances that will allow paramedics to reach their destination in the fastest possible way.” A brighter live-saving future eagerly awaits us.