The CBC Health Services’ Sand Bay is a long stretch of sand ridges designed at the end of the steep Up-Station Hill at the Finance Junction in Bamenda to serve as a landing spot for vehicles that develop brakes failure whilst descending the hill. It is one thing that all drivers, especially newcomers in Bamenda City, must remember as they descend the winding Hill so that in case of a brake failure, they know exactly where to land.
Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, Director of CBC Health Services, explains that the creation of the Sand Bay was inspired by the need to save lives after so many accidents had been registered in the area. He observed that people died in accidents on the Up-Station Hill almost every week.
Prof. Tih Pius says he had seen a similar thing in the United States. “I saw vehicles run into what they call run-offs along the highway and I wondered why that couldn’t be done here in Bamenda. I then decided to create the Sand Bay to save lives from the frequent fatal accidents,” explains the public health expert.
Since the creation of the sand Bay in 2002 by the CBC Health Services, it has saved so many lives. Public transport and private vehicles have landed into the bay and no one has died since then.
“I’m very happy that the Sand Bay has saved the lives of hundreds of Cameroonians who could have died senselessly on this Hill. Before the creation of the sand Bay, the roundabout was very narrow and vehicles that lost control descending the hill ended up running into the Health Centre (Mbingo Annex Bamenda). Some even crashed into the Health Centre’s walls and into trees with many passengers dying. I remember the last accident before we created the Sand Bay, where a vehicle lost control and ran into the trees leading to the death of eight people on the spot,” narrates Prof Tih Pius.
What today is a life-saving spot was constructed at a high cost and today no one really gives thought to this fact but rather we celebrate its usefulness. “We spent 14 million FCFA to realize the Sand Bay. From the construction of the gutters, the technology put in place that ensures that water filters through the sand into the runoff gutters, loads of sand, to labour cost.” After its construction, the CBC Health Services spends about FCFA 2million yearly to ensure that the Sand Bay keeps running and saving lives. “We maintain it every year and sometimes more often. Each time a vehicle lands in the sand, we go in again to soften the sand ridges such that they will be able to slow down and sink the tires of the next vehicle that runs into the Sand Bay. Without the sand ridges, it will be difficult for runoff vehicles to sink into the sand as it is intended,” expatiates Prof. Tih Pius.
The Cameroon Government did support the CBC Health Services to realize the Sand Bay something that the Director of Health Services recognizes.
Contrary to rumours circulating that there is a price to be paid for cars that enter the Sand Bay, Prof Tih Pius says, “There’s no charge for drivers that enter the sand bay. It’s created to save lives.”
Most drivers you speak with, who understand the area where the Sand Bay is found and who witnessed the accidents of the past, salute the initiative that now stands tall as a hallmark of the CBC Health Services’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). “In the past, many people died on this hill when cars lost control but since the Sand Bay was constructed, we have been saved from such fatal accidents. When descending the steep Up-Station Hill drivers often had brake failures and ended up killing people in at busy Mobile Nkwen (a busy hotspot located at the foot of the Hill). Now, when we lose the brakes of our vehicles, we usually run directly into the Sand Bay for safety which is always guaranteed,” says one of the drivers we spoke to.
The joy of having the Sand Bay resonates among commercial motorbike riders in the City. They have from time to time often relied on the Sand Bay for their safety and that of their passengers also due to brakes failure. “We’re so happy with the creation of this place. We used to have accidents coming down the Hill. In some cases, we either ran into cars or people. With the creation of the Sand Bay, all of this is over because we have a safe landing spot,” remarks one of the motorbike riders.
The Sand Bay is just one of the many initiatives through which the CBC Health Services is giving back to the communities. We are joining the Government not only to ensure the delivery of quality health care, but to also fight road traffic accidents through ways that are very innovative as they are cost-effective.