Speaking at a ground breaking ceremony to signal the commencement of the construction of a first level hospital in Shiwangandu, Wednesday, Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya also revealed that government is constructing a state of the art second level hospital in Chinsali.
“The honourable minister did mention the issue of health posts, yes [but] unfortunately the contractor who we had mandated to build 51 health posts in Muchinga had a challenge with the host government and we had to terminate the contract on mutual agreement. So the health posts have not been completed in Muchinga Province and in Shiwangandu only two have been done. I want to assure you honourable minister and through you the people of Muchinga that come December 28th this Friday, the contractor who has been assigned to continue building health posts will be in Northern Province and Muchinga to just ensure that everything is in place and map the programme so start constructing within January,” Dr Chilufya said.
He said providing health services under his ministry would not only be based on infrastructure expansion but also on taking the services closer to the people.
“We are determined as a government to ensure that all Zambians access health services across the …We will therefore ensure that Muchinga Province has enough infrastructure for people to access health services closer to where they are. Health service will not only be based on infrastructure expansion, there must be services closer to where the people live, the quality must be very high, it must be affordable it must not result in financial catastrophe. So we are building health posts, we are building hospitals and mini hospital centres, we are building big hospitals,” Dr Chilufya said.
He further said that the new Chinsali second level hospital will also be a training facility for nurses and medical degree doctors.
“The roadmap for building health centres in Muchinga is crystal clear. We are building a state of the art second level hospital in Chinsali. That facility will be a referral facility for the whole province and surrounding areas closer to the province. If you have all the specialties that you hears of in the big general hospitals, it will be a training centre too, therefore you will be training nurses both public health nurses and clinical nurses. You will also be training specialist doctors. In the re-engineered approach to human capital improvement, there is the first ever medical university in the country and that’s a legacy of His Excellency President Edgar Lungu. You will be training medical degree doctors right here in Chinsali. We will ensure that we deploy medical staff,” he said.
And Shiwangandu PF member of parliament Stephen Kampyongo said he was grateful that government had decided to reactivate the construction of health posts project which had stalled for too long.
“In terms of the health facilities that you are bringing, you will be saving lives. It’s the same with Kanchibiya where we have got areas which are cut-off sometimes during the rainy season and the facilities which are there are just not good enough and the population is growing. And so we are grateful that within the strategic plan of your ministry, you have factored in Muchinga Province out of the ten provinces. We are looking forward and we shall corporate with you to make sure that the projects that are being undertaken are done on time and that the contractors you are giving us are monitored because we have been disappointed in some cases. We of course know that the 650 [health posts] which we have been crying for, it was circumstances beyond the ministry’s control. So we are grateful that you have reactivated that project so that those few which remained can also be completed,” said Kampyongo.