University Teaching Hospital comes of age

THE twins, Bupe and Mapalo before their separation. PICTURE: JACK ZIMBA

‘INVESTMENT in health is wealth,” says University Teaching Hospital (UTH) senior medical superintendent Clarence Chiluba. This is the stance the hospital has taken in its quest to create a healthy and wealthy nation.
The country’s largest referral hospital is building its capacity to cross uncharted waters, resulting in better services to the Zambian people, including the provision of major surgical operations. One recent example is the separation of conjoined twins – Bupe and Mapalo by a team of local medical experts.
UTH was established in 1934 at its present site and was run by expatriate doctors. The vision was to have local doctors run the institution.
In 1967, a medical school was established to train students in medicine and paramedics. Professors Elwyn Chomba and Evaristo Njelesani were among the first intake of medical students enrolled.
The medical school has grown in capacity capable of training undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as doctors of philosophy (PhD).
The institution has experienced major expansion in most clinical disciplines and has continued to grow in meeting the needs of the country.
“By the late 1980s, most of the work at the hospital was in the hands of Zambians, with a few expatriates involved,” Dr Chiluba said.
With Zambians at the helm of the institution, a need arose in 2016 to unbundle the institution, modernise its services and bring about efficiency in its operations.
The unbundling of the institution has seen a lot of changes at the institution, including expansion of infrastructure and refurbishment of units, bringing the facility to speed with what is obtaining in other countries.
State-of-the-art equipment has been purchased to allow doctors and other medical personnel operate efficiently.
“It is envisaged that if people are kept well from any sort of disease, they will be productive resulting in economic growth of the country,” Dr Chiluba said.
He said as UTH remains the flagship of health services