- Social workers recognised as vital for psycho-social support and rehabilitation of road accident survivors
In its quest to improve service delivery, the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund held a Social Workers Engagement Seminar which attracted over 50 social workers from the Gaborone region recently.
Held at Cresta Lodge in Gaborone, the seminar recognised social workers as valuable stakeholders in pushing the mandate of the MVA. Among several objectives of the event was to provide a holistic understanding of the functions and operations of the Fund by sharing and reinforcing MVA products and services in terms of loss of support, claims management and psycho-social rehabilitation to injured claimants. Through the seminar, the MVA Fund also sought to improve working relations, enhance and maintain stakeholder relations and improve service delivery.
The seminar had various specialists from the social work field and the Fund itself who facilitated presentations on case management, the role of social work in Botswana and implementation of welfare policies. Other presentations were on regulations of social work practice by the Botswana National Association of Social Workers and the psycho-social support in the context of MVA Fund by Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Botswana who is also the current head of the department, Odireleng Shehu.
Giving a presentation of the fund operations and case management, Case Manager-Welfare at MVA, Buyani Chidoda told social workers that the Fund has had some legal reforms, which include the fund ceasing cash compensation in cases of road accidents and shifting its focus to medical and rehabilitation care. Chidoda revealed that the migration of the Fund from fault to a hybrid system of compensation has expanded the scope of cover to all those affected by accidents as well as removing negligence as the basis of accepting liability and removal of payment of general damages.
“The primary focus of the Fund is now on medical and rehabilitation care,” she said. “We have also increased funeral expenses from P5,000 to P7,500 and extended prescription period from two to three years, which is not applicable to minors and persons suffering mental disorders, and moved on to cover government vehicles.”
Chidoda explained that MVA sources funds from the fuel levy where all motorists using roads in Botswana contribute 9.5 thebe per litre to the Fund, and from third-party insurance cover that foreign registered vehicles pay upon entrance into Botswana. The Fund also relies on local and offshore investments and right of recourse payments. MVA started operations on 1st January 1987, necessitated by the insurance industry’s announcement of intended increases of third-party premiums by up to 600 percent.
While the industry had cited escalating road traffic accidents as the root cause of the intended premium increase, the government was concerned that the proposed escalations were out of reach for most motorists. The Fund was therefore born with the ultimate aim of providing automatic third-party cover through payment of a fuel levy. The process culminated in enactment of the Motor Vehicle Insurance Fund Act of 1986.