JAPAN has signed a grant of US$24 million to Zambia for the upgrading of health centers in Mushili in Ndola and Chamboli in Kitwe to district hospital level.

This is the third phase of the project which commenced in 2015. Under phase one and phase two of this project, Japan supported the upgrading of some of Lusaka’s health centres to district hospitals, at a total cost of approximately K980 million or US$53 million which saw health centres in Matero, Chilenje, Kanyama, Chawama and Chipata townships of Lusaka upgraded and modernised to district hospital level.

During the signing ceremony, Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu said apart from what has been donated, government still needs support to undertake programs such as infrastructure, equipment and transport improvement among others.

“Through the signing of these notes and agreement, japan will provide a grant of approximately US$24 million or K436 million for upgrading the two health centres, in Mushili (Ndola) and Chamboli (Kitwe) on the Copperbelt province. This project will also enhance health care provision and human development performance in the targeted locations and their surroundings. Your Excellency, this is a commendable step as it will complement the government’s efforts in reducing the infrastructure gap in the health sector. This commitment is evident in Zambia’s 7th national development plan goal that aims to facilitate the building of a countrywide health system that provides equitable access to essential medical products, vaccines, and technologies of assured quality, safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness. To attain this goal, we still need support from development partners such as yourselves to undertake programmes including: Infrastructure, equipment and transport improvement; Medical commodities supply improvement; Health care financing improvement; and Health service delivery enhancement,” said Dr Ng’andu.

And Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Mizuuchi Ryuta expressed hope that Dr Ng’andu’s efforts towards achieving debt sustainability for the country would bear fruit.

“It is our sincere hope that Finance Minister Ng’andu’s effort towards achieving debt sustainability will bear fruit. I am totally behind him, as he pursues his goal. At a time, H.E. President Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu in his statement of June 25 characterised the COVID-19 as “real”, we are still at half-way in our joint endeavour. Let us hope, however, that both of us will prevail in the end,” said Ambassador Ryuta.

The project will provide facilities and equipment to the existing two health centres such as; outpatient wards, emergency wards, examination rooms, x-ray rooms, laboratory rooms, pharmacies, admission wards, delivery rooms, and operation and surgical rooms, will all be upgraded, modernised, and some of them constructed, at the two health centres.

Further, the project will facilitate the provision and supply of medical equipment to the two health facilities which include: general x-ray imaging devices, operation tables, ceiling shadowless lamps, ultrasonic diagnostic devices, ECG machines, defibrillators, anaesthesia apparatus, electrosurgical units, patient monitoring equipment, auto biochemistry analysers, auto blood cell counters, autoclaves, dental units, and laundry machines.