Dr Olive Kobusingye, Ugandan emergency surgeon and global injury epidemiologist has joined the iRAP Board bringing an important African and health-sector perspective and experience to the charity’s governance.
On joining the Board, Dr Kobusingye said, “I welcome the opportunity to serve as a member of the iRAP Board to help make safer roads a reality in the African region. Many African countries combine young and burgeoning populations with rapid and poorly planned urbanisation and motorisation. The resulting toll of road traffic crashes and injuries is a heavy cost on communities and countries. iRAP’s work on making roads safer for all road users will be key to the region’s efforts to reduce the crippling burden of unsafe roads.”
Dr Kobusingye’s most recent role was as the Director of the Trauma, Injuries and Disability programme at the Makerere University School of Public Health in Kampala. She is also a Distinguished Fellow of The George Institute for Global Health, Board Chair of the Road Traffic Injuries Research Network (RTIRN), and co-founder of The Great Outdoors, Uganda.
She completed her surgical training during a time when Uganda was at war and witnessed trauma on a mass scale. The ongoing burden of road trauma in Uganda saw much of her work as an emergency surgeon focussed on saving road crash victims and minimising the life-changing consequences of their injuries. Road crash injuries continue to be a major challenge in Uganda with more than 30 people killed on Ugandan roads each day, and more than an estimated 800 more suffering life changing injuries.
Dr Kobusingye set up the first hospital trauma registry in Sub-Saharan Africa and pioneered the development of injury surveillance resources in low- and middle countries.
From founding an Injury Control Centre in Uganda with established grassroots groups working with village health teams, she worked at the city level looking at preventing injuries in Kampala, and then became the Regional Advisor to the World Health Organization on injury and violence prevention across 46 African countries.
She has helped to strengthen the field of injury epidemiology in low- and middle-income countries and globally through enhanced programmes focussed on more robust research into injury and trauma, and effective mechanisms to translate research findings into preventive measures.
Her experience has led her to believe that if national policymakers are not fully persuaded on a proposed injury-related intervention or initiative, then often what is being talked about internationally has very little real impact. Similarly, the efforts of motivated stakeholders at a grassroots level will not go far without support from a better-resourced group.
On welcoming Dr Kobusingye to the Board, iRAP Chair Miquel Nadal said, “Olive’s experience in Sub-Saharan Africa and in global injury epidemiology will help shape our partnerships for 2030 impact in low- and middle-income countries, particularly Africa where the need is greatest. Her understanding of how to transform advocacy into action through leadership and policy engagement will provide valuable strategic direction for the charity’s future in the region, particularly to inform the work of our newly appointed Safer Journeys Lead for Africa Nathalie Chiavassa.
“Olive is passionate about addressing road crash injury through capacity building and ensuring robust injury research translates into training programmes and preventive measures. iRAP shares this passion and looks forward to Olive’s input into the strategic direction of the charity,” Mr Nadal said.
The iRAP Board and team welcome Olive and look forward to her expertise shaping the good governance and strategic direction of the charity as we create the partnerships for 2030 impact.
For more details on iRAP’s plan for the Second Decade of Action of Road Safety 2021-2030, click here.
Image credit: George Institute for Global Health