By Petronella Sibeene
The tendency by most Namibians to transport people in bakkies or open vans has resulted in tragic accidents, with many lives lost and survivors sustaining serious head injuries.
This is the view of the chief executive officer of the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund, Jeremiah Muadinohamba, who said Namibians should know such vehicles were designed to transport goods and not human beings.
Muadinohamba bemoaned that there are many people, especially those in the low-income bracket, who make use of bakkies to move from one place to another.
Unfortunately, most drivers prefer to travel at a speed of over 120 km per hour and in the event of an accident, chances are high that the passengers will lose their lives or sustain serious injuries.
Over the past weekend, eight people died in road accidents and three of the dead were passengers in a van. The accident took place in the Oshikoto Region.
“We need to stop drinking and driving and we need to stop transporting people in vans/bakkies,” said Muadinohamba, adding that the chances of passengers losing their lives should the vehicle be involved in an accident are significantly high.
Muadinohamba says there is need to reduce the number of accidents across the country and that would come with the changing of road use behaviour.
Considering that over 60 percent of victims of road accidents are treated at State hospitals countrywide, the MVA yesterday handed over a cheque of N$1.5 million to the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The funds are aimed at procuring medical requirements for head injuries at the Katutura and Windhoek Central hospitals in the capital.
Muadinohamba further pledged one million Namibian dollars that would be used for re-activating the training of paramedics in the field.
He said those that need to be re-trained in the field will do so at the University of Namibia, the Polytechnic of Namibia and the Peninsular Technikon in South Africa.
The MVA has already procured equipment for Windhoek Central, Katutura and Oshakati Intermediate hospitals.
The equipment includes ambulance bags for resuscitating patients, cardiac boards, electrocardiogram (ECG) machines, theatre tables, stretchers, wheelchairs, portable mobile suction machines, bedside monitor machines, ventilators, orthopaedic beds and mattresses.
Apart from that, it also funded the refurbishment of Ward 2B for patients with head injuries at Katutura Hospital and Ward 7 West, Namibia’s only spinal cord injury unit at Windhoek Central Hospital.
The CEO also stated that in the past five years, MVA has reformed and improved significantly its service delivery to clients.
Initially, MVA would pay out money to victims but that incentive has been replaced by treatment where the fund directly pays the medical service provider.
Muadinohamba said the ministry and MVA earlier signed a memorandum of understanding that enables the MVA to guarantee a form of payment to a hospital where an accident victim is receiving treatment.
The issue of guarantee of payment is carried out in 24 hours though plans are at an advanced stage to reduce this to seven hours.
Further, where lives have been lost, the fund provides a funeral benefit of N$7?