Saving Lives Is Concern of MVA

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Road safety and saving lives has become a great concern of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA), hence it has stepped up its awareness campaign to a much higher level through the recently-launched Xupifa Eemwenyo. The road safety campaign is slated to officially start on December 1. In an interview with New Era yesterday, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Jerry Muadinohamba, said the fund would like to play a more active facilitating role in mobilizing more partners for the campaign. Compared to last year’s 20 sponsors, it successfully received support from 35 public and private companies who have placed the much-needed resources and equipment in making this year’s road safety campaign a success. Muadinohamba added that although the MVA is sticking to its mandate of providing motor claims to motor vehicle accident victims, this latest project is all about a holistic approach towards prevention that is better than cure. “On a large scale of things, it’s really not practical for the Fund to just sit down and wait for accidents to happen. It’s a business imperative for the Fund to become involved in this project which is its initiative,” explained Muadinohamba. Questions are being asked as to why the MVA Fund is carrying out the role of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) whose mandate centres around public education and awareness on road safety in the country. However, Muadinohamba added that through the Xupifa Eemweenyo 2006 initiative, the NRSC together with other stakeholders are also involved in the project. Thus, the MVA Fund is carrying out an overall complementary role in this regard. “We recognize the role of the NRSC, and we are collaborating with the Council as they have also provided equipment to the Namibian Police,” added Muadinohamba. The NSRC also launched its communication platform for the year called “Get There Safe” which the MVA supports. “Xupifa Eemwenyo is just another way for the MVA to reposition itself on a more active role in promoting road safety and injury-prevention. We see it as our corporate responsibility to mobilize private and public sector companies on one mission. Bringing together 35 companies is unheard of, and it’s the right thing to do,” he explained. The latest initiative is based on four holistic objectives: The first is that of increasing police visibility on the country’s national roads. Secondly, it centres around providing the much-needed equipment to law enforcements agents. At present the police are still in need of two cameras and two breathalyzers. Then there is the issue of emergency response, which has become critical especially over the festive season where motor vehicle accidents tend to be much higher than usual. “We would like to place both private and public ambulances at high accident zones,” said Muadinohamba. The fourth pillar of the project is that of public education and awareness carried out by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation and New Era. In essence, it’s a collaborative approach aimed at bringing down the high toll of motor vehicle accidents that are predominant especially over the festive season. It turns out that the annual carnage on national roads has reached unacceptable levels for a country with a relatively small vehicle population size. Official statistics indicate that the number of fatal accidents in Namibia, compared to South Africa with a vehicle population of 1.6 million vehicles, which is almost the size of Namibia’s population, is considered too high and is thus a cause for great concern. Today (Wednesday) the MVA will be launching its emergency response number to the public, namely: 0819MVA. “People must just call this number when there’s an accident. We will answer it and direct it to the Police and Ambulances Services and they will come to your aid in less than two hours, or even one hour if possible,” said Muadinohamba, adding that this emergency response number will only be available as from November 17, 2006 to January 17, 2007. He cautioned: “Avoid driving at night, keep a safe following distance and remember Speed Kills.”