MVA opens its new emergency response in Divundu

Martin Endjala

As Namibians gear up for the fast approaching festive season, the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) has today announced it will be activating its new emergency response in Ndivundu, aimed at responding to emergency calls between the two regions Kavango east and Zambezi region.

MVA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Rosalia Martins-Hausiku, announced this during the launch of the road safety campaign in collaboration with other stakeholders, which will run during the festive season till mid-January 20223. She cautions that should an accident occur between these regions, a life is guaranteed to be lost, given its geographical location as emergency responses often take too long to reach to such places. The activation is said to start on the 1st of December and will operate for 24hours throughout the festive season and remain operational.Hence the reason to put up an emergency response despite the fact that low accidents are reported in this regions, she emphasises the need to ensure that no lives are lost while there is an alternative.

Also speaking at the launch was Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Veikko Nekundi ,who welcomed the launch with a stern warning of cameras to be put up at blind spots to capture those overtaking at such spots, for them to be brought to task with their licenses to be revoked with immediate effect.“It amazes me to see someone driving through red lines at traffic lights, and if you hood them, they pull out their arms and point you with the middle finger, so this should constitute another further ten year revoke of their licenses. Its high time we put up cameras at four ways, traffic lights and so forth”, the minister determines.

Stressing that many lives have already been lost and more cannot be afforded to be lost. According to the year to date data compiled by the MVA Fund Emergency Call Centre, 4529 persons were injured with 398 fatalities. The average fatalities in the past three years stood at 540. With 81 percent recorded crashes said to have taken place in the Khomas, Erongo, Oshana, Otjozondjupa, Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions. The same regions constituted 76 percent of injuries and 63 percent fatalities, while 71 percent of deceased drivers were male. Of which 55 percent were aged between 25 and 44 years. While 82 percent of crashes involved pedestrian, collisions and roll overs; most common types of crashes are pedestrian-related, roll-overs and collisions, resulting in passengers, pedestrians. Martins-Hausiku warnS that theSE statistic are alarming.

The three year average, medical costs associated with injuries is averaged at 141 million covering emergency response, in-hospital treatment, rehabilitation and life enhancement. Research shows human behaviour makes up 70 percent of road crashes. Speeding, drink/ drug driving, using a mobile phone while driving/crossing the road, failing to wear a seat belt, driving without a driver’s license are amongst the usual causes. Increased awareness and public education by all stakeholders to change behaviour cannot be overemphasised. The MVA Fund will therefore also undertake activities during the 2022/23 Festive Season Road Safety Campaign period. In response to Pillar 5 of the Decade of Action for Road Safety, the Fund will ensure increased emergency response capacity on B1, B2 and B8. Paramedics will be stationed at Arandis, Farm Wilhelmsdal, Farm Sukses, Omuthiya, Otjiwarongo and the MVA Fund Service Centre in Otavi along the B1 and B2 route. The National Defence Force (NDF) has also confirmed partnership in ter
ms of ambulances.

Martins-Hausiku is excited to activate the new EMRS Base that has been necessitated by the lack of paramedic’s services on the B8 route. First Responder Awareness will be conducted along B1 and B2 routes in order to encourage community participation of road safety. The Fund has already started to roll out its Green Dot Programme, which deals with public transport passenger safety in the six high crash regions and will provide defensive driver training to 30 public transport drivers in the Zambezi region this week. Where the Fund will conduct road user educational and awareness engagements with pedestrians and risks related to speeding, fatigue, driving under the influence, and operation of un-roadworthy vehicles with drivers together with other stakeholders on the above-mentioned routes. In addition, the Fund has been conducting workplace road safety activations at various organisations throughout the country, doing green dot education while also engaging relevant stakeholders throughout the regions.

The Fund has committed to cover the cost of repair to nine Nampol traffic vehicles in Kavango East region and one in Erongo .

The total commitment for sponsorship is N$806,000 bringing role-players together and creating an opportunity to draw attention to the scale of emotional and economic devastation caused by road crashes, to address such problems.

Martins-Hausiku calls on all to save the Fund’s Accident Response Number 9682 in their phones, highlighting the importance of the number as the difference between life and death.

By Observer