The ministry of health in partnership with the Swedish government has procured 25 customised all-terrain ambulances at the unit cost of US$52,550 to be distributed to various districts in Eastern and Southern provinces.

Speaking when he handed over the ambulances to Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya yesterday, Sweden Ambassador to Zambia Henrik Cederin said the ambulances have been procured by the ministry through the United Nations procurement system.

Ambassador Cederin said his country’s support which comes in form of finance, materials, and human resource is focused on ensuring that under resourced districts and provinces access health services without difficulties.

“It is on this note that we are very pleased today to physically hand over 25 ambulances to the ministry to be distributed to the districts. These are customised all-terrain ambulances with life support accessories and they have been purchased by the ministry through the United Nations procurement system at a unity cost of US$52, 550. With a joint focus on value of money, of course a key principle for us when procuring equipment at this price level that I just mentioned, has enabled us to purchase in total the 25 ambulances,” Ambassador Cederin said.

“Exactly two years ago, almost in mid-December 2015, Sweden and Zambia entered into a new agreement for a programme to support productive, maternal, new born child, adolescent health, and nutrition with a focus on services provided in the Eastern and Southern provinces. This in order to improve the health of Zambians by strengthening the health system to deliver quality services. We, as Sweden want to take part in reducing the unnecessary sufferings and preventable deaths of women, children and young people.”

He said Sweden was committed to seeing the poorest of Zambians having access to good health so that they could be productive and contribute to the development of the country.

“We would like to see all Zambians and especially the poorest of the poor become productive members of the community contributing to the country’s development. Sweden support to the programme come in the form of financial, material and human resources to enable the ministry of health to deliver high quality services to under-resourced provinces and districts and to make these services readily accessible and acceptable to those that need them,” said Ambassador Cederin.

And speaking when he received the ambulances, Dr Chilufya thanked the people of Sweden for their commitment to strengthening health systems in Zambia.

“Let me express government’s appreciation on the support from the people of Sweden to strengthen health systems in Zambia. One of our key legacy goals we have set out for ourselves is to reduce maternal mortality rate from 398 per 100,000 to less than 100 per 100, 000 by the year 2030. Today we gather to see one key investment in the referral system in our reproductive and child health services, 25 basic life support ambulances donated to Eastern province and southern province by the good people of Sweden, we thank you for that, your Excellency,” said Dr Chilufya.