The Ministry of Health has clarified that the actual cost of the Bangweulu Regional Hospital is K154 million and not $154 million as alleged by National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili.

And the Ministry has insisted that the tender process for the hospital was done in line with the Zambia Public Procurement Agency (ZPPA) standards before settling for Sunshare, the Chinese contractor undertaking the project.

Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary in charge of administration Dr Kennedy Malama explained that the figures the Ministry had were actually in kwacha terms, translating to around $11 million.

“As you are aware, Luwingu is a rural district part of Northern Province, so government made a strategic decision to take specialized services to the people of Northern Province by building a hospital in Lupososhi. So the contract sum is K154,174,340.72 (US $11million). The figures we have at the Ministry of Health are in kwacha,” Dr Malama told Hot FM’s Breakfast Show, Tuesday morning.

He insisted that the disputed tender process was done according to the provisions of the ZPPA Act.

“You know, when you are contracting works of this nature, you don’t do things outside the provisions of the Zambia Public Procurement Act. So, indeed, this project went through the due processes, which are expected to be undertaken and the Zambia Public Procurement Authority has to give concurrences where it’s necessary for us to execute such voluminous type of work. So, indeed, the contractor is Sunshare and this was also alluded to during the official laying of the foundation stone,” Dr Malama explained.

“In fact, it was not groundbreaking when his Excellency (President Edgar Lungu) was in Northern Province; he was laying a foundation stone, but even when we were doing that, works, of course, are underway.”

He added that the hospital in question was bigger than an ordinary provincial medical facility because it had more to offer in terms of service provision.

“This hospital, definitely, that’s why you see sometimes being referred to as a regional hospital so it is, indeed, a bigger hospital than an ordinary provincial hospital because of the scope. For instance, just to give you some highlights, this hospital is going to have casualty and emergency wing. It’s also going to have various specialized outpatient clinics; it’s going to have five theatres so that even if we have two, three theatres occupied due to emergency, you still have some space,” said Dr Malama. “It’s also going to have two ICU (Intensive Care Unit) wards, which will be able to cater for various emergencies going the hospital. It’s going to have a maternity wing, laboratory and also we have noted that the issues of blood safety in our country is topical so it’s going to have the blood bank services also as a separate entity and also many other support departments like physiotherapy, pharmacy, dental, radiology and of course many other wards.”