Responding to queries from the Economist, its Chief of Corporate Affairs, Kapena Tjombonde said that the MVA Fund through its call centre, is able to respond to emergencies.
The MVA Fund emergency response services operate from its Call Centre based at the Windhoek Service Centre. For crashes in or near Windhoek, the ERU responds directly. Emergency response to crashes outside Windhoek is still provided by external service providers but it is coordinated from the Windhoek Service Centre.
A typical emergency response will stabilise the injured persons and transport them to an appropriate medical facility according to the severity of the injuries.
In addition Tjombonde said, “the MVA Fund emergency personnel also responds to mass casualty incidents outside Windhoek to complement assistance on scene.”
The MVA Fund has been operating the Mayte Emergency Medical Rescue Centre in Sesriem for two years to respond to crashes on the notorious gravel roads of the popular Sossusvlei area. This centre is equipped with an ambulance and a response vehicle from the Ministry of Health and Social Services seconded to the MVA Fund,” Tjombonde explained. “Two of our ECTs (paramedics) are stationed at Otjiwarongo and Rehoboth (also using Ministry of Health and Social Service response vehicles), to respond to emergencies in those regions.”
“Plans are to expand this life-saving service to those remote areas such as Kavango and Zambezi regions where the nearest towns are hundreds of kilometres away, leaving people stranded for extended periods. Currently, the plans involve getting community members to establish community-based response centres, with MVA Fund providing technical support,” Tjombonde added.
She said the MVA Fund would continue making use of other service providers. “The MVA Fund has signed contracts with most medical service providers to facilitate medical care without avoidable delay. The Fund has been using the private emergency service providers and will continue to do so in facilitating emergency rescue services. Namibia is a vast country thus every service provider in this realm is vital to saving the lives of those who find themselves in emergency medical situations.”
The MVA Fund Emergency Response fleet comprises a VW Crafter single stretcher Ambulance, equipped with Advance Life Support level and two emergency response vehicles. The paramedics of the Emergency Response Unit as well as those working for external service providers are expected to be able to stabilise injured persons on the crash scene before evacuation.
The ERU staff consists of three Advance Life Support paramedics, five Emergency Care technicians, eight Intermediate Life Support paramedics and seven Basic Life Support paramedics for a total staff complement of 23 individuals.