President Edgar Lungu yesterday officially opened Zambia’s first paperless hospital in Chipata City, and directed the Rural Electrification Authority to connect power to the rest of the health facilities in the province where government intends to roll out the technology.

Addressing Chipata residents at the new health facility, President Lungu said his government was committed to reduce congestions in major hospitals and cut down on distances people travel to access medical help.

“I am greatly honoured to commission Chipata District Hospital phase one at a total cost of K10 million. This is a milestone in my government’s efforts to bring health facilities closer to the people. It is also gratifying to note that phase two of the project commenced on 21 July 2017 at a total cost of K28 million and is almost complete. This occasion then comes at an opportune time when we are transforming Chipata into a City,” President Lungu said.

“Provision of public services in the city has to match its status. The construction of the Chipata district hospital is one of the many infrastructure programmes that the Patriotic Front government has undertaken. Currently, my government is constructing district hospitals in Vubwi, Nyimba and Lundazi. These are just district hospitals, but we are also constructing a general hospital in Petauke. We are also constructing staff hostels at Nyanje Mission hospital and 57 health posts. So far, 44 health posts out of 57 allocated to Eastern Province have already been completed and are operational as we speak.”

He emphasised the need for new infrastructure to be ICT-compatible.

“Let me reiterate government’s commitment to deliver the promises that the Patriotic Front made to the people. The Chipata general hospital will reduce the distance that people have to travel and the congestion in bigger hospitals. It will contribute significantly in eliminating malaria, reducing maternal mortality rates and help attain HIV/AIDS pandemic control by 2021. This hospital is the first paperless hospital in the country. My government will roll out the electronic health records management system in 26 health facilities in Chipata Chipangali and Kasenengwa by the end of July this year,” said the President.

“In order to realise this, it is important to ensure that all health facilities have access to power. In this regard, I am directing the Rural Electrification Authority to ensure that all health facilities in Chipata, Kasenengwa and Chipangali are connected immediately to the power grid. To enhance communication, it is also important to ensure that health facilities are connected to the fibre network. To ensure faster communication, it is important to ensure that all future infrastructure is connected to ICT. I am therefore directing the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure to ensure that that is implemented during inspections.”