More people die on roads than from HIV, says minister

2010-10-12 12:05

Roads in Africa could kill more people by the year 2020 than those who die from HIV and malaria put together, Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele said today.

Speaking at the launch in Pretoria of the Mercedes Benz Trucking Wellness Partnership, Ndebele said road trafficking injuries remained a public health problem which should be addressed.

“In our call for safety we call for healthy drivers,” said Ndebele, adding that HIV and Aids should not mean death. In welcoming the Tracking Wellness Programme, Ndebele called on long distance truck drivers to take all necessary precautions on the road.

Mercedes-Benz has partnered with the SA Business Coalition on HIV/Aids to address the plight of drivers on the roads.

There are 20 roadside centres located all over the country as part of the programme. They cover 98% of the national road network.

It aims to scale up comprehensive HIV and Aids prevention treatment, support and risk management.

Reports indicate that some 70 000 drivers are faced with the challenging impact of HIV/Aids and poor health.

Mercedes-Benz has invested R3.5 million into the programme. Ndebele said he hoped that the roadside centres were not only for the use of Mercedes-Benz employees but for all truck drivers.

Mercedes-Benz vice president in the commercial vehicles division, Kobus van Zyl, said the company wanted to celebrate Transport Month by recognising the truck drivers for their contribution to the industry.

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