On Friday the 2nd September 2022, the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund in partnership with African Centre for Surgical Innovation (AfriCSI) held its first ever Trauma Management symposium under the theme “Overcoming Spinal Cord Injury – The Road To An Independent Lifestyle”. Dr Alex Van Der Horst, an Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon based in Namibia graced the event as the guest speaker, which was attended by approximately 180 stakeholders representing various trauma management entities. These included Emergency Medical Service providers, trauma management academics, medical specialists, psychologists as well as other key industry partners. In a quest to realise its Vision, “Best Chance To Normal Life”, The Fund deemed it fit to organise such a high level event to provide a platform for trauma management specialists to convene and exchange ideas on trauma management best practices, particularly spinal cord injuries caused by road crashes.
Over the years, Botswana has recorded quite a high number of serious road crashes, especially along the A1 Road. These crashes not only have they claimed precious lives, but they have left survivors with severe injuries such as spinal cord and head injuries. Speaking at the Spinal Cord Injury Management Symposium, the MVA Fund Board Chairperson, Dr Boitumelo Mokgatla stated that “this symposium constitutes an important opportunity for Botswana to take stock of its experience, as well as to assess the progress and the challenges faced in effectively managing spinal cord injuries in our country”. The MVA Fund has over the years been offering benefits to those who have suffered from road crashes and sustained serious injuries as it has been mandated to provide rehabilitation, compensation, and support to those affected by road crashes. Dr Mokgatla revealed that the MVA Fund in partnership with the Ministry of Health has had a positive relationship with the Spinalis Unit based at Princess Marina Hospital, however, there is still room for improvement. She stated that the symposium provided the perfect opportunity for stakeholders to reflect and learn from past experiences and grow from those.
The events for the day also included testimonials from road crash survivors. in addition, discussions by specialists we held to deliberate on issues such as Prehospital trauma management, management, and rehabilitation of spinal cord injured patients and how trauma management can be improved in Botswana. Not only did these interactions solidify the relationships that the Fund has with its stakeholders, but they also demonstrated the integral role that they play in the achievement of the Fund’s vision.