MVA targets Otjozondjupa
Only a few days before 15 more Namibians lost their lives in another gruesome but avoidable collision north of Oshivelo, the Motor Vehicle Accident fund opened the doors to its new Otjiwarongo Service Centre.
Just over ten years ago, Namibia’s first mass casualty road crash killed 28 bus passengers on the road north of Grootfontein when a civilian bus collided with a mining truck en route from Zambia. This horrible incident seeded the need for a pro-active Motor Vehicle Accident Fund. In the ensuing ten years, the MVA fund as it is branded, has become a tour de force in the struggle to improve road safety and to alleviate the economic impact on the families left behind.
The opening of the Otjiwarongo Service Centre is another tangible step by the fund to give meaning to its mandate.
The new service centre provides essential services and support to the Otjozondjupa region which accommodates the notorious B1 road. According to road crash statistics collated by the MVA Fund Call Centre for the year 2015, the region recorded the highest fatality number, representing 14% of total deaths as a result of road crashes on Namibia’s roads.
The region also accounts for 12% of injured persons in more than 300 road crashes, with roll-overs, collisions and pedestrians cited as the most common types of crashes. Furthermore, 42% of young people aged between 16 and 35 years perished on Namibia’s roads, while children age zero to 15 years accounted for 14% of fatalities in the year 2015.
Honourable Otto Iipinge, the Governor of Otjozondjupa Region, in his welcoming remarks lamented the fact that road traffic crashes cause severe constraints to livelihood. “This fact pervades my mind day and night due to the fact that the road safety situation in my region carries much to be desired”, he said urging all stakeholders to expedite new ways with a view to drastically reduce the number of road crashes.
The Minister of Works and Transport, Hon Alfeus !Naruseb in his keynote address, pointed out that this new milestone in the history of the MVA Fund emphasises the challenge the nation is facing, of losing more and more lives on roads. “The way in which we have been doing things now indicates that there is a need for a change in attitude and behaviour since the current ways are definitely not working” the minister said.
He directed an urgent plea to the youth to adjust their behaviour as they account for 42% of fatalities in road crashes as is evident from the recorded statistics. The minister added that he wishes to see relevant agencies and local authorities conducting more prayer sessions along the B1, especially in the area of Otjiwarongo, Otavi, Omuthiya and Oshivelo. Calling for the establishment of a fully functional committee comprising law enforcement agencies, road safety agencies, the business community, civil society, activists, emergency medical response services, health practitioners, faith-based organizations, the public transport industry, and all other relevant entities, the minister said his office needs quarterly reports to show the status of road safety on a national level.