Most drivers have high blood pressure and visual problems-report

By Amina Yahya

Health examination undertaken by Tumbi (Kibaha) and Morogoro regional hospitals show that many drivers in the country have visual impairement and high blood pressure, problems  linked to too much alcohol and smoking.

At least 7.7 per cent of all drivers in the country are believed to be visually impaired or have high blood pressure, according to the examination whose findings were recently handed over to the national traffic commander, Mohamed Mpinga.
Speaking at the event to submit the results, Dr Abel Musa from Tumbi hospital said that about 438 drivers, 27 percent of the drivers were found  with vision problem  and 12 percent were suffering from high blood pressure.
“High blood pressure can easily cause stroke abruptly and prevent drivers from taking control of the car, thus cause accident” said Dr Musa.
He recommended that there should be an official form, signed by specified doctor, which each driver must carry showing his or her health status.
Dr. Johanes Rwenyangila, Laboratory Standards Officer from Morogoro Regional hospital, on his part reported that at least 92 doctors out of the 525 drivers that they examined tested positive of high blood pressure.
Some 16 drivers, being about three percent of the drivers examined had visual problems and a bout two percent of them use only one eye.
The examination was organized by Tanzania Breweries Limited aspart of the corporate social responsibility.
TBL corporate affairs and legal director Stephen Kilindo, said his company realized how sensitive road safety was to the national growth, and how road accidents had claimed the lives of many Tanzanians, hence deciding to spend 40 millions shillings  for checking  health of 800 drivers.
“Our company knows that information is power, thus raising public awareness on road safety regulations and traffic rules is a powerful tool in preventing road carnage” he said.
He said, both hospitals had a target to test 400 drivers after it was realized that many drivers do not have time for checkups.
He said although his company brew and sell beer, they have been in the frontline in the campaign for responsible drinking among their customers.
Traffic police commander Mohamed Mpinga,  lauded TBL’s gesture of being interested in road safety by supporting the police in the awareness campaigns, and how it handled its fleets and drivers.
Citing an example of accidents that happened in Mtwara and Singida in the past few weeks, he said that the data obtained by Tumbi and Morogoro hospitals could be the reason behind those accidents.
However, he claimed that they are facing challenges like inadequate facilities for measuring speed and intoxication for drivers, passengers are also causing road accidents by defending evil drivers, especially those who drive on high speed.
Mpinga promised to work on these data and advised the relevant authorities and even Sumatra to have a system of testing drivers by surprise.
He suggest that bus owners should make sure that drivers have tested their health before they give jobs to them, the handing over was done at the traffic police headquarters in Dar es Salaam on Friday.