MVA and Health Ministry to help in spinal cord rehabilitation

11 Aug 2013 14:20
WINDHOEK, 11 AUG, (NAMPA) – The Motor-Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund and the Ministry of Health and Social Services will establish Namibia’s first Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Rehabilitation Unit within the Ministry of Health next year.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of a spinalis training session here on Friday, the MVA’s Chief Operations Officer Rosalia Martins-Hausiku said the unit will be established in partnership with the Spinalis Foundation, a Swedish charitable foundation specialising in the rehabilitation of SCI survivors and the promotion of research and treatment development in the field of spinal cord injuries.
Spinalis launched a SCI rehabilitation project in Botswana in 2010, where intensive skills transfer took place for the implementation of a concept of comprehensive spinal cord injury rehabilitation in the public health care system of Botswana.
In conjunction with the University of Namibia’s School of Medicine and Spinalis Foundation, 19 participants were trained here from 05 to 09 August this year. The participants comprised of physicians and MVA Fund Hospital Case Managers.
“It is through the collective aspirations that we would be able to help many people make the transition from traumatic injury to independent life,” she said.
Martins-Hausiku further said this dream is dated back to 2010 when the MVA Fund, the Health Ministry and Spinalis Foundation started deliberating on the possibility of establishing a SCI Rehabilitation Unit within the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
According to Martins-Hausiku, this is in line with the MVA Fund’s drive to constantly look at improved services provided to people injured on the roads.
The Fund shifted focus from a compensatory scheme to rehabilitation, subsequent to conveying injured persons from crash scenes to medical facilities. The goal is to rehabilitate them to a level of independence, so they can return to work, return to school and be economically productive.
“It is through the collective aspirations that we would be able to help many people make the transition from traumatic injury to independent life. We believe that rehabilitation is most effective when it is holistic, comprehensive and client-centred,” she noted.
Martins-Hausiku added that in terms of sustainability, it is one way of moving forward in contributing to national goodwill, because the more people return to work, the less costly it will be to the institution and the State.
“Let me use this platform to encourage other institutions to also engage in public/private partnership and work towards building sufficient rehabilitation capacity in the country in order to enhance quality care to our people,” she said.
Also speaking at the same event, Medical Superintendent at the Windhoek Central Hospital, Sara Shalongo, said the unit is expected to add value towards effective rehabilitation and life enhancement for people with spinal cord injuries in Namibia.
“Through this agreement of training a Namibian team to acquire intensive skills from Spinalis Foundation, we commit ourselves to stimulate growth in the management of spinal cord injuries in Namibia, the treatment, care and sustainable rehabilitation,” Shalongo said.
She added that Namibia has not yet fully developed a spinal cord injury rehabilitation unit.
“The training in SCI management is therefore of utmost importance to our country, as it will enable the Ministry of Health to enhance quality care, especially to those with spinal cord injuries,” she noted.