The increase in the number of road accidents continues to put a strain on the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund with severe injuries claims accounting for 53.3 percent by the end of July 2022, the fund board has said.
According to the Board Chairman Dr Boitumelo Mokgatla, severe injuries claims have to date clocked to P54million for the current year.
Dr Boitumelo Mokgatla told the Spinal Cord Injury Management Symposium that severe injuries including Spinal Cord injuries are the highest cost drivers and that this is mainly due to their complexity, long length of hospital stays in specialized units, need for intensive rehabilitation, as well as them giving rise to other benefits such as enhancements of quality-of-life, housing modifications, loss of income and caretaker costs.
She also stated that road traffic crashes are a big impediment to the national development agenda. She is of the view that the problem is that road traffic crashes put a strain on the national budget as it competes for resources with other national objectives. She also revealed that from their annual reports, one can note that on annual basis, the fund reserves an estimated P120 million for managing severe injuries, and some of these are spinal cord injuries.
“A Spinal Cord Injury is a traumatic lifelong changing injury, the claimants always need intensive psychological interventions to accept their permanent disabilities. Within the first year of a spinal cord injury (SCI), medical costs can escalate. Healthcare costs continue to rise, and as a result, sometimes we cannot go as far as we wish regarding rehabilitation, we need to be innovative and stretch the little resources that we have as a country,” said Mokgatla.
She further stated spinal cord treatment and rehabilitation in Botswana is still at an infancy level, however some significant progress has been made, as witnessed by the specialists available here today as well as the advent of Spinalis, which is a SCI rehabilitation unit based in Princess Marina Hospital. She added that there is still plenty of opportunities for growth, collaborations, benchmarking, and expansion.
“Through gatherings like this one, MVA Fund is contributing to building nation-wide spinal cord injury treatment and rehabilitation capacity,” she said.
MVA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Tlhagwane is of the view that trauma management is very critical to the health and well being of a road traffic crash victim, adding that this is why MVA Fund was excited to partner with the African Centre for Surgical Innovation to host the symposium. He believes that trauma if not well managed may lead to depression, anxiety, mental and physical disorder. Our vision as the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund is to provide “Best chance to normal life” to all those affected by road traffic crashes. He added that this therefore means that trauma management is critical to ensuring that they realise their vision.
“This theme emphasizes the need for adequate trauma management to ensure that all our patients can recover within a reasonable period. The objectives of this symposium are broaden awareness and knowledge in trauma management and issues around it and learn about the latest innovations and insights in trauma management,” said Tlhagwane.