Every year, close to 6,000 lives are lost in road crashes across the state of Odisha in India. Many of these lives could be saved, provided the victims get proper emergency care in “golden hour”, which is defined as the immediate one-hour period following a traumatic road crash injury, during which, chances of preventing death through prompt medical treatment are the highest.
Project Rakshak is a joint initiative by the State Transport Authority (STA) Government of Odisha, GIZ India, Indian Red Cross and Automotive Skills and Development Council (ASDC) to save the lives of road crash victims by creating a force of 30,000 first responders or “Rakshaks (translated as “protectors” in English)” across Odisha. This group of Rakshaks will act as well-trained first responders to ensure timely and meaningful help to road crash victims.
This first of its kind state-wide programme in the country is designed to be executed over twelve months as a two-phase program to maximise outreach and impact. The state-wide project aims to train first responders near accident-prone sites to administer pre-hospital trauma care within the first hour of the road crash.
In the first phase, 300 “Master Trainers” were identified and trained from across all 30 districts of Odisha. The Master Trainers were sensitised on not just the various aspects of being an effective first responder and first-aider, but also on teaching, documentation, and communication skills, enabling them to propagate the knowledge further to other trainees. These 300 trainers in turn will train 30,000 civilians across the State, especially those living or working close to accident hotspots.
The project was inaugurated by hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik on 10th of November 2021. Emphasising the importance of being a good Samaritan and urging civilians to come forward to save lives, the CM announced a reward for all such Samaritans.
The ‘Rakshaks’ have been provided handholding support by the Master Trainers on different aspects of road safety, including CPR training, the importance of the golden hour in saving victims and the good samaritan guidelines for citizens. The first phase of the program got huge response and 12,000 people have been trained as ‘Rakshaks’ till now.
Watch the video to learn more about how the project is being rolled out in Odisha: https://youtu.be/Vd4MnX8rzQ4
Link to further materials
Laghu Parashar — Deputy Project Head
Sustainable Urban Transport – Air Quality, Climate Action and Accessibility (SUM-ACA)
Road safety, first-aid