Editor's Comment

Japan aid to boost quality healthcare

TAKING quality healthcare services as close to the people as possible has been premium on Government’s agenda.
Zambia’s commitment to improving the health sector is evident in the country’s Seventh National Development Plan, which aims to facilitate the building of a countrywide health system that provides equitable access to essential medical products, vaccines and cost-effective technologies.
For a developing country like Zambia, the dream of creating a robust healthcare system is by far larger than the resource basket can support.
It is, however, heartening to know that despite inadequate resources to sponsor such huge projects, Zambia has all-weather friends she can rely on as she embarks on her development journey. And Japan is one such friend.
It is heart-warming that Japan has given Zambia a grant of US$24 million (K436 million) for the upgrade and modernisation of two health centres in Ndola and Kitwe on the Copperbelt to district hospitals.
The support will certainly go a long way in pushing Government’s ambitious agenda of transforming the healthcare system.
The funding by Japan will see implementation of phase three of the project, which involves upgrading of Mushili Health Centre in Ndola and Chamboli Health Centre in Kitwe into modern facilities.
It is worth noting that Japan also assisted the country in phases one and two of the project in 2015, which saw the upgrade of Chilenje, Kanyama, Chawama, Matero and Chipata health centres to level-one hospitals at a cost of K980 million.
Japan’s continued support in Government’s vision to deliver quality healthcare to the door-steps of many Zambians is commendable.
As rightly noted by Minister of Finance Bwalya Ng’andu, the project will enhance health service provision and contribute to human development.
“The project will go a long way in increasing quality health services and in return contribute to the overall livelihoods and socio-economic well-being of Zambians,” he said.
The project is expected to facilitate the provision and supply of medical equipment to the two health facilities. The equipment will include general X-ray imaging devices, operation tables, ceiling shadowless lamps, ultrasonic diagnostic devices, ECG machines and defibrillators.
Others are anaesthesia apparatus, electrosurgical units, patient-monitoring equipment, auto biochemistry analysers, auto blood cell counters, autoclaves, dental units and laundry machines.
One of the major challenges the country faced for a long time was inadequate referral health facilities. For instance, in Lusaka, before the construction of Levy Mwanawasa University Hospital and upgrade of some clinics, all patients were referred to the University Teaching Hospital. That caused untold congestion on the facility and compromised the quality of service.
But with the upgrade of more clinics into mini hospitals in other parts of the country, many cases which would ordinarily be referred to other hospitals will now be dealt with within their communities.
This entails that people will be able to access comprehensive and quality healthcare services within their vicinities as opposed to travelling long distances to referral hospitals.
We know that Government has not only been working to improve infrastructure but to boost health personnel.
Not too long ago, President Edgar Lungu directed the Ministry of Health to employ 3,000 health workers in a bid to beef up human resource as the country battles with COVID-19.
Besides its ambitious project of constructing 650 health facilities across the country, Government has also been deliberate on boosting medical supplies, human resource and equipment in all health facilities.
This is certainly the way to go and much so now that the country and the world at large are faced with a pandemic.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has just sounded a reminder on the need for more investment in the health sector.
The pandemic has also shown that there is need to raise the healthcare system to a level where local health facilities can handle any medical complication.
Government’s vision of transforming the healthcare system into a robust one needs more support now than ever before because it aims at ensuring the health of citizens is well taken care of.
That’s why partners like Japan should be commended for their contribution to Zambia’s improved healthcare system that invariably leads to a healthy citizenry and a better country for all.

Facebook Feed