The Minister of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, has raised concern over the pressure that road traffic accidents put on the health care system.

Dr. Shangula was contributing to the motion tabled by Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa, about extra charges for overloading.

The country, Dr. Shangula says, faces a public health crisis from deaths and injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Dr. Shangula's concern is that the health services are being strained by the high incidence rate of accidents and the consequent health care that must be provided.

"Protection of the road infrastructure goes beyond preservation; it is more than just mere preservation in good condition. Protection of the road infrastructure has a tremendous impact on the safety of road users and road transportation. Damaged roads cause damage to vehicles; damaged vehicles pose a risk to the safety of road users. The cause of fatal injuries is N$31.2 billion; the pressure on the healthcare system is enormous. A number of factors play a part. The condition of our road has a fair share in this equation. Overloading is one of them."

He further proposed that the Ministry of Works and Transport allocate fees calculated by the Roads Authority to offenders.

Also contributing to the motion was Popular Democratic Movement MP Nico Smit.

"The scarcity of weighbridges is a case in point; currently, with only a handful of weighbridges operational, the coverage is evidently insufficient. There are far too few in the context of the mass vehicle bill, which cannot be overstated as they serve as critical control points for safeguarding road infrastructure and ensuring road safety."

He said weighbridges are essential to enforcing the vehicle load limits, which is crucial in preventing road damage caused by overloading.

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Joleni Shihapela