President Edgar Lungu says the upgrading of Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital into a university teaching hospital is a major milestone in government’s efforts of improving people’s lives through quality health care.

And State Councilor of the people of the Republic of China Wang Yong says once expanded, Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital will be the largest built by his country in Africa.

In a speech read on his behalf by Vice-President Inonge Wina at a ground breaking ceremony today, President Lungu said the expansion of the hospital would cater for the ever-growing population.

“This has been made possible with support from the people of the Republic of China. It is a culmination of several discussions, consultation and exchange of ideas between the two governments. Currently, Levy Mwanawasa Hospital has a bed capacity of 439. The ground breaking ceremony today is for a much larger state of the art hospital with a bed capacity of 826. The construction of this modern facility is expected to be completed within three years, that is a record time. The expansion of this hospital will transform it into a modern health facility and this is a major milestone in my government’s efforts of improving the lives of the Zambian people by bringing quality health care services closer to the family,” President Lungu said.

“This expansion will also assist in catering for the ever growing population of Lusaka Province as well as offer specialized treatment. Indeed, it is a noble gesture from the people of the Republic of China and it will forever be appreciated and treasured by my government and the people of Zambia. The Chinese government has since 2012 continued sending teams of medical doctors to this hospital to beef up the existing medical personnel. Currently, there is a team of 15 medical doctors working here in various units. Apart from working at this hospital, these teams are also involved in outreach services that are done by the mobile hospital which is based at Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital.”

He hailed China’s assistance in improving health service delivery in Zambia.

“I have been informed that these doctors are highly qualified and experienced to the extent that they have set up a tele-medicine facility that has made it possible for our medical doctors to consult with their counterparts in China on how best to handle certain medical conditions. There are also plans to establish the biggest endoscope unit in the country. To be based here, at this hospital and training of staff to manage this unit will commence in July this year. In addition, staff from this hospital have in the past benefitted from both short and long term training in China as doctors, nurses, engineers and administrators and every country will continue to benefit from such training,” President Lungu said.

“I am particularly heartened that Chinese support to this hospital has been extremely comprehensive and the generosity of the Chinese government has further extended to providing state of the art medical equipment such as x-rays and theatre equipment. They have also provided two ambulances and furniture to this hospital. The Patriotic Front government recognizes and acknowledges the role your government continues to play in improving the health sector in our country.”

He upgraded the hospital to a university teaching hospital.

“With this expansion of Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital, I hereby declare that it is now upgraded to Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital. The 3000 student capacity facility due for completion this year will be part of this Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital,” said President Lungu.

And Wang said the hospital was a symbol of Zambia’s friendship with China.

“This hospital has become a symbol of Zambia-China friendship. After expansion, this hospital will become the largest built by China in Africa and the first regional medical centre combining the functions of medicine, education and research. It is hoped that China and Zambia can work in close collaboration and add new color to the symbol of Zambia-China friendship and it will be of real benefit to the local people,” said Wang.