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First Lady appeals for China aid in children’s healthcare

FIRST Lady Esther Lungu playing drums with children during her visit at Shenzhen Children’s Hospital in China on Wednesday.

JERRY MUNTHALI, Shenzhen, China
FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has called on the Chinese government to help develop Zambia’s healthcare system, particularly in paediatrics.
Mrs Lungu is concerned that Zambia’s investment in the medical sector is still inadequate, especially healthcare for children.
Speaking shortly after visiting Shenzhen Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, Mrs Lungu said she is encouraged that the facility is among the best in China and has been saving the lives of many children through conducting advanced procedures.
Shenzhen Children’s Hospital recently conducted a high-tech operation on a three-year-old Sri Lankan boy, Duleni Sujani who was born with a multi-malfunction condition and has his penis, anal orifice and legs intertwined.
“There is need for Zambia to learn from what China has achieved over the years in investing in the health sector and this has tremendously improved the health standards of the Chinese people,” Mrs Lungu said.
She said it is vital for Governments to invest in medical facilities to reduce infant mortality.
“I am certainly impressed with the kind of healthcare Shenzhen is providing to the children both within and outside the city.
“Our infant mortality in Zambia has remained high and we can only appeal to our friends here in Shenzhen to link us to the well-wishers who can assist us in improving our health facilities,” Mrs Lungu said.
“I know how difficult it is to conduct complicated operations without high-tech equipment but it becomes even more challenging with a human resource that is not dedicated,” she said.
Shenzhen Children’s Hospital president Zhong Shan said the operation conducted on Duleni is the first of its kind in the world but that the surgery was made possible by the Buddhist community which contributed huge sums of money to the hospital.
He said the hospital had invested more than US$50 million into modern medical equipment for the intensive care unit (ICU) and other critical departments.
“Shenzhen is now 17 years-old and it is relatively new.  It offers tertiary comprehensive medical care to children and has the bed capacity of more than 1,000,” Dr Zhong said.
“We offer services from birth to 14 years and we have so far successfully conducted 17,000 surgical operations,” he said.

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