MVA Fund tackles road carnage head on
Question: Please articulate the mandate of the MVA Fund in brief?
Answer: The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund was established in 1991, in terms of Act 30 of 1990, shortly after independence, to compensate people injured in motor vehicle crashes or the dependents of people killed in such crashes.
Today, after successful review, the Fund is mandated to design, promote and implement crash and injury prevention measures, provide assistance and benefits to all people injured and the dependents of people killed in road crashes in accordance with the MVA Fund Act No.10 of 2007. Therefore, it operates on a hybrid system where all people injured in motor vehicle crashes, regardless of who caused the crash, receive fair and reasonable benefits (subject to some limitations and exclusions).
The Fund offers benefits namely injury grant, funeral grant, loss of support, loss of income and medical benefit, and is able to fulfil its mandate and meet obligations toward its customers through the fuel levy provided by the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
For the past 3 years, the Fund received 47.7 cents per litre of petrol and diesel sold.
With customer service at the core of its operations, the Fund effectively monitors, anticipates and responds to the ever changing needs of its customers by ensuring that it reaches as many claimants as possible through its expansion strategy.
The ultimate aim is to increase national presence and thereby take services closer to the Fund’s customers as we simultaneously display our commitment to support Government’s efforts towards its decentralization policy of bringing equitable access to services to all Namibians, regardless of economic and social standing in line with Vision 2030.
Service Centres are located in strategic locations, namely Windhoek, Keetmanshoop, Walvis Bay, Otjiwarongo, Rundu, Katima Mulilo and Ongwediva.
Question: What would you say are your key achievements in the past two years and where do you see the MVA Fund in the next two years?
Answer: The Fund’s balanced scorecard which is aligned to the State Owned Enterprise Key Performance Indicator Framework, is pegged on four key performance areas, namely financial performance, service performance, human resource management and effective internal processes. In the past two financial years that is 2015/16 and year to date in 2016/17, the MVA Fund has made great strides in all these spheres. With great pride, the MVA Fund also celebrated the award as the Best Company To Work For in the Medium-Size Category, first place in 2015 and again in October 2016 in 2014 the Fund came in second place.
The Fund committed to attain 80% staff satisfaction level, and has year to date achieved 83%. I was conferred the CEO Of The Year accolade by the Institute of Public Management in recognition of my role in supporting Human Resource strategies in 2015.
Additionally, I was awarded the Namibia Economist Business Woman of the Year Award in the Government and Community Category in the same year.
I share these awards with the Board, Executive Leadership Team and staff, and thank them all for their support and for always upholding the Fund values of passion, excellence, teamwork and integrity. Other notable achievements over the past three years include: The implementation of the Return to Work Programme where we rehabilitate injured persons with the aim to return them back to school, work and independence and thus far our achievement is at 88 %.
The Fund initiated the house modification programme in 2014 as part of life enhancement for seriously injured claimants and with the aim to adapt the claimant’s living environment to make tasks easier for the individual with limitation, reduce domestic accidents, and support independent living, thus improving customer satisfaction among seriously injured clients.
Since 2014, the Fund has modified/constructed 69 houses. With regard to road safety, the Fund continues to initiate and participate in interventions which are aimed at ultimately reducing the carnage on our roads. Major interventions include the launch of Opotuli, the Khomas Pedestrian Road Safety Audit and the Festive Season Road Safety Campaign which is held annually. Through the Spinalis Rehabilitation Unit that was opened at Windhoek Central Hospital, to date, 157 patients have undergone rehabilitation. The establishment of the Unit resulted from a collaborative commitment between the MVA Fund, Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Swedish Spinalis Foundation in an effort to enhance our efforts toward supporting our claimants’ journey to independence, as espoused in our vision. On an annual basis, the Fund awards paramedic bursaries through its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Policy to deserving students studying at Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) towards the B-Tech in Emergency Medical Care. In addition, the Fund also award bursaries to orphans who lost their parents in a motor vehicle crashes. Doctors who specialize in scarce medical areas (such as Neurosurgery and Orthopedic surgery), are also supported by the Fund in order to enhance capacity. The Fund also lends a helping hand to Disability Sport Namibia (DSN), a strategic intent for the purpose of inclusiveness and to recognize deserving sports women and men for their contribution towards the upliftment and success of disability sports in Namibia.
The Fund contributes over N$100,000.00 every year toward the hosting of the DSN annual awards. Furthermore, the Fund continued to lend a helping hand to the Onyose Trust Foundation, a school for children with disability, by sponsoring a mini-bus, a gesture that reinforces our partnership with the foundation and shows the commitment of the Fund in the fulfilment of its Corporate Social Investment to the Namibian nation.
Question: Sensitisation becomes a very important component of promoting safety in roads, do you think as an organisation you have invested enough in sensitisation?
Answer: Investment in Road Safety can never be enough, for as long as the required behaviour change is not achieved. But there is a need to contextualize the Fund’s role in Road Safety, as much as the Fund’s mandate includes the promotion of road safety.
There is a lead agency currently, namely the National Road Safety Council who is the custodian of the Decade of Action (DoA) 2011 – 2020 strategy. Namibia is a signatory to the World Health Organisation’s DoA for Road Safety 2011 – 2020 with the aim to reduce fatalities with 50 % by 2020. The Fund and other agencies in the transport fraternity joined the NRSC in the implementation of the DoA.
The DoA is premised on 5 pillars namely: road safety management; infrastructure; safe vehicles; road user behaviour; and post-crash care.
The Fund’s involvement in the other Pillars is quite minimal whilst we invest more resources in Pillar 5 which comprises of pre-hospital care, trauma care and rehabilitation and Quality assurance, hence you will see in some of the achievements listed above, they are in line with this pillar.
In addition, with the commencement of our 2014-2019 Business Strategy, we also developed an Accident and Injury Prevention and Public Education (AIP/PE) Strategy with focus on vulnerable road users as informed by data collated by our Call Centre.
These targetted road users include 13% pedestrians, 52% youth between the ages of 15 and 35 as well as 64% males who continue to be more at risk of injury and/or fatality in comparison to females.
Further to the above, the Fund also regularly undertakes collaborative interventions with road safety partners to address specific aspects of the implied risks such as education, enforcement and engineering.
On an annual basis, the Fund sets aside 2% (equivalent to over N$3million) of our revenue for road safety initiatives. These include among others, the Opotuli Road Safety Campaign, Khomas Region Pedestrian Road Safety Audit, engagements with schools, pedestrian safety awareness, workplace road safety initiatives and roadblock interventions.
Question: What role do you think the MVA Fund can play in stimulating the transport and logistics sector?
Answer: There are three areas that are in our domain that I believe will greatly contribute to the enhancement of the transport and logistic sector: emergency response; awareness of the risk factors and data availability and exposure treatment and rehabilitation. The MVA Fund has a dedicated Call Centre, and Accident Response Number (0819862), both of which create a platform for early access to emergency medical care and early intervention.
Furthermore, the Fund continues to work with the Ministry of Health and Social Services in terms of trauma capacity building by providing training for nurses in trauma care.
We established a pilot emergency medical response centre in Arandis and a permanent base in Omuthiya (Oshikoto region) with plans to reach out to other areas, initiatives which aim to add value and enhance capacity in the emergency response sphere. In line with assessments conducted both by the Fund and corridor groups, these assessments necessitated the Truckers’ Road Safety Symposium which was hosted with the aim to promote self-regulation among the trucking community as a sustainable and proactive measure to road safety.
The study on the corridors included all aspects, i.e. education, enforcement and emergency response.
In terms of the high accident zones that were identified through the study, the Fund has played a key role in training community first responders.
Through these interventions, the Fund is in alignment with the growth experienced in the transport and logistics hub to address relevant issues, as the increase in traffic volumes in the corridors pose a threat to an already existent traffic situation.
Moreover, the education and information drive on road safety and the products of the Fund, ensures that communities along these corridors are informed.
Thus, the Fund’s mass media drive on all the corridors will go a long way in raising awareness on the risks posed along these corridors, empowering such communities to make educated decisions when using the road.
Question: What are some of the challenges faced by road users in the country in their quest to maintain safety first?
Answer: In analysing our data, we identified that pedestrians remain the most vulnerable group.
This has warranted an audit in Khomas region which accounts for 50% of pedestrian crashes, to determine challenges pedestrians encounter daily.
Thus the Khomas Region Pedestrian Road Safety Audit was activated in 2016 along with relevant partners on 5 high risk roads, namely Ongava Street, Monte Christo Avenue, Independence Avenue, Matshishi Street and Mandume Ndemufayo Avenue.
The most common areas of concern that were detected include unpaved sidewalks, rubble on sidewalks, no presence of pedestrian or zebra crossings, excessive speeding by motorists, absence of speed limit signs, vendors compromising pedestrian safety on sidewalks, no ramps or mountable kerbs at bus stops, wrongly placed pedestrian crossings, incorrect positioning of traffic lights, fading pedestrian lines and pedestrians not crossing at designated points.
The implementation of the above findings which has already commenced will certainly go a long way in contributing positively to the fight against injury and death on our roads.
We also undertook a route-based assessment on the B1 and B2 and some of the findings were congested flow of traffic on both roads, presence of animals on the roads which contributed to high number of crashes, and blind spots which pose a significant hazard coupled with high speed by motorists which pose a danger to all road users under all circumstances.
Question: Where do you see the MVA Fund in the next two to three years?
Answer: This is actually my fourth year of tenure as CEO the MVA Fund, and I am quite pleased with the institution’s achievements against the targets that we set out in our 2014 – 2019 strategy. One of our historical challenges has always been the sustainability of the Fund and in 2016 we attained over 101% solvency and funding. Our assets have also grown significantly. I have an exceptional team and Board to thank for these achievements.
Key for us as we bring the strategy to a close in the next 3 years to 2019 is create as occupational therapy and physiotherapy capacity in Namibia, as this is one of the arrears that are crippling our efforts to provide seamless rehabilitation of injured persons in our country and enhance their quality of life.
This vision complements Government efforts in ensuring that citizens lead a quality life and are re-integrated into society to contribute meaningfully to the economy.
We will refine the house modification project which we started 2 years ago, to enhance quality in the provision of life enhancement.
The home modification drive includes the adaptation of the customers’ living environment to make tasks easier and support independent living.
The Fund is in early stages of setting up an MVA Fund Trauma Centre equipped and staffed to provide care for persons injured seriously in a motor vehicle crash.
We believe that a centre dedicated to treating and caring for persons injured in crashes will yield better and focused outcomes for our customers and in the long run further enhance financial sustainability.
Lastly we aim to create a risk intelligence institution by inculcating risk management across all levels.