Each year over 600 people are killed and more than 5000 people are injured in traffic related accidents.
Each crash entails cost, not to mention the social cost of pain, grief and suffering of families of the victims.
On average, one person is killed daily and about 16 suffer serious injury ranging from loss of limb to spinal cord injuries, head injuries and internal injuries. Injuries will vary depending on many factors, such as speed, whether or not the person was wearing a seatbelt or whether the vehicle hit an object such as a tree or another vehicle.
Furthermore, the injuries suffered in crashes are often life-changing, not only for the injured person, but often also for their families and friends.
Appalling figures from the MVA Fund Call Centre reveals that between 01 January and 31 May 2015, 281 people were killed in 1637 crashes and 2817 suffered different levels of injuries ranging from minor to serious.
These crashes (recorded between January and 31 May 2015) forced the MVA Fund to spend N$226 million monthly and over N$1 million daily for medical expenses, injury grants, loss of support, loss of income and funeral claims translating into N$113 million.
Road crash injury management represents a significant proportion of the costs. As a single crash may produce multiple casualties with different injury severities. Medical costs comprised the bulk of the total cost during this period, constituting N$78 million (69%). Medical costs of the injured range from on-scene to recovery or death, and includes first-aid and rescue service (ambulances), hospital costs and rehabilitation costs.
Between January and May 2015, a total of 453 persons were hospitalized for medical treatment with certain levels of reduced quality of life due to the severity of injuries sustained:
Road crashes are a very common cause of people suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Spinal Cord Injury (SPI) and becoming a paraplegic, quadraplegic or tetraplegic in Namibia. As per table above, a total of 33 people were admitted with severe injuries, of which 19 sustained traumatic brain injuries and 14 were left with spinal cord injuries.
A further 25 severely injured persons have since been discharged (13 SCis and 12 TBis) and are undergoing extensive rehabilitation to aid them regain independence, and 8 are still undergoing medical treatment at various health centres.
A further 404 persons were admitted with less serious injuries which includes fractures, lacerations, poly trauma, and blunt injuries. In addition, 6 people lost their limbs due to amputations.
In terms of injuries per age group, bearing the brunt tend to be younger people between the ages of 16 and 35. Of those injured, 1391 (49%) are in this age group, while 197 (7%) are children aged 0 to 10.
A further 122 (43%) people in the 16 to 35 age bracket were killed while 36 (13%) children aged 10 and younger died.
Commented the MVA Fund “Many motor vehicle crashes and their resulting injuries or fatalities are preventable. The MVA Fund strongly feels they can not simply wave a magic wand to make the roads safer overnight, but there are measures that can help reduce the overall impact of road crashes, by using a co-ordinated approach involving a wide range of actors from all.”