CATHERINE MUMBA, Choma
AFTER several years of grappling with issues of access to better quality health services, residents of Moyo Chiefdom in Pemba District of Southern Province have since received a miracle.
The joy in the hearts of the residents, who only depended on the small Moyo-Hamaundu Health Post, could not be hidden as they danced to celebrate a long-awaited victory of landing themselves a reliable health facility with modern equipment.
But this is no ordinary health facility, it is a modern hospital given to them by World Vision Zambia.
Rising numbers of mothers and children who were dying in the chiefdom because of delivering from homes as well as being affected by diseases such as diarrhoea, malnutrition and other preventable diseases were becoming an issue of concern.
Mary Simuyaba, a second-time expectant mother, explains that it has been a challenge accessing quality health services on time in the chiefdom, especially when faced with a complication.
“During the first pregnancy, I had a complication and Moyo Clinic could not handle it, so I was referred to Monze District Hospital. But imagine the time it took for those movements to be made, I was just lucky I and my baby both survived,” she says.
Mrs Simuyaba is grateful that a modern hospital has been constructed within Pemba district as it will not only reduce maternal deaths but also reduce the distance people covered to access quality healthcare.
World Vision Zambia has built the modern hospital at a cost of over K8.1 million.
The 50-bed capacity hospital has become the first modern health facility in the district and is expected to cater for about 78,000 people in the area.
It has a theatre block, radiology department, maternal and child health block, six staff houses, mortuary and an ante-retroviral therapy clinic, among others.
World Vision recently held a community celebration of the completion of the facility at which people danced and dined.
Chief Moyo could not stop thanking World Vision Zambia and its donors for the gesture.
“We should never forget this day as a chiefdom because it is a day of receiving a very special gift.
In Tonga we say, “He who does not say thank you is a dog, so because we are not dogs, we want to appreciate you World Vision for this noble gesture,” he says.
Chief Moyo said his chiefdom was seeing a modern facility for the first time.
“I want to encourage everyone to visit this hospital whenever you are sick. And husbands, please, don’t be shy to escort your wives for antenatal. After all, you made them pregnant. Be proud,” he said.
Chief Moyo says the facility will go a long way in reducing maternal and premature deaths in the chiefdom.
He thanked Government for creating an enabling environment for non-governmental organisations such as World Vision Zambia and its donors to supplement its efforts to improve people’s lives.
Chief Moyo has directed his headmen to inform people in the chiefdom to come to the hospital whenever they feel unwell instead of staying home and believing they had been bewitched.
World Vision Zambia operations director Wezi Kaira thanked Chief Moyo and his subjects for allowing his organisation to build the facility.
Mr Kaira says the hearts of World Vision Zambia and its United States donors were moved to fund and support the construction of the hospital by the challenges faced in Moyo Chiefdom.
“You explained among many health issues that mothers and children were at highest risk because of lack of access to better quality health services particularly to effectively meet the needs of expectant mothers and children, especially when the situation turned critical,” he says.
Mr Kaira says the old structures of Moyo-Hamaundu Rural Health post have also been rehabilitated, an ambulance has been bought and mechanised piped water has been put in place.
“Your Highness, World Vision seeks to continue improving the health and general well-being of children and their families through such interventions.
“It is our desire that by 2020, we contribute to improving the lives of one million people through our literacy, health, food security and livelihood as well as water, sanitation and hygiene programmes,” he says.
Mr Kaira says the programmes are being implemented in 34 areas spread in nine of the ten provinces in Zambia.
He says World Vision is also committed to contributing to the attainment of most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially number one to six and 17.
“World Vision further pledges to continue working with Government to improve the well-being of children not just in providing quality health care but improving household food security and resilience, literacy, access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene,” Mr Kaira says.
He says the organisation’ aspiration is that no child or mother should die of preventable and treatable diseases and situations, hence the construction of the hospital to strengthen treatment.
Mr Kaira says World Vision also wants to strengthen referral systems and community sensitisations through volunteer groups ‘Safe Motherhood Action Groups’.
CATHERINE MUMBA, Choma