Five hundred drivers were tested for eye disease, blood alcohol content, diabetes, narcotics, and high blood pressure.
The Lagos State government has said that 60 per cent of the commercial bus drivers who underwent an eye test at two Lagos parks recently have poor eyesights.
During a week-long Motor Park Health and Safety Initiatives organized by the state’s Ministry of Health, last week, 500 drivers were tested for eye disease, blood alcohol content, diabetes, narcotics, and high blood pressure at two motor parks at Marina, Lagos Island.
Out of the 351 drivers that underwent an eye test, 198 (60 per cent) had poor eye sights – 117 drivers were given free eye glasses, 42 would receive special order lenses, and 39 referred to specialists.
According to Jide Idris, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, the programme aimed to create awareness on the need for drivers to update their skills as well as engage in safe driving.
The programme screened 176 drivers for hypertension and diabetes, 351 for eyes test, 120 for urine test, 80 screened for alcohol content level using breathalyzer and 83 received one-on-one mental health counselling.
Fifty drivers were hypertensive while 16 people were found to be diabetic; 100 drivers tested positive to substance abuse and 26 of those screened had excessive blood alcohol level.
“This explains why the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation and in partnership with Guinness Nigeria Plc put together this initiative, which is why the importance of this motor park health and safety awareness campaign cannot be over emphasized,” said Mr. Idris, a medical doctor.
Mr. Idris stated that the Motor Park Health and Safety Initiative sensitization and screening campaign had been taken to Ojota, Iyana Ipaja, Oyingbo and Bariga motor parks; stressing that advocacy, education and enlightenment on what commercial motor drivers should do and should not do as regards their health and well being especially to ensure an accident free commuting is what the programme seeks to achieve.
“The screening, counselling and advocacy team that run this programme includes medical doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians, officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Officers, Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) officials and administrative workers,” he added.
He urged commercial motor drivers to desist from taking alcohol, drugs or other related substance before going behind the wheel. He stressed that evidence abound that road traffic accidents are influenced and precipitated by substance abuse which impaired driver’s ability to manage and manipulate a vehicle well.
“Let us resolve today that we will stop taking a gamble with our lives. Every time you cross the highway, every time you drink Alomo and Paraga, every time you get behind the steering wheels with drugs in your system, it is like putting a loaded gun to one’s head and wondering if it can kill or not. It is a huge risk to take and we should stop taking that risk,” the commissioner added.