Western Province gets improved health services

Good health is an essential prerequisite for national development. The role of the health services is to promote health, prevent disease and injury, treat and rehabilitate the sick and injured. In recognising the state of the current health service provision in the country, Government has undertaken a robust programme to upgrade service delivery, infrastructure, among others in Western Province and countrywide. NOMSA NKANA has more in the following report.
THE Patriotic Front (PF) government’s policies on health service provision states; ‘rehabilitate, fully equip and provide adequate staff to all levels of health care’.
This can be evidenced by the number of health facilities that are under construction in various parts of the country such as Western Province.
Recently, Deputy Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya was on tour of health facilities in the area, some of which have been completed and soon to be opened to the public.
In Kaoma district, a new hospital with a state-of-the-art theatre has been completed.
Installation of equipment has been done and it will be expected to provide medical services to a population of 110,000 people.
Compared to the equipment in the old theatre, the new one has anesthetic, vacuum, autoclave machines, and a new operating table, among others.
Western Province provincial medical officer (PMO) Dr Andrew Silumesii says the theatre, which was constructed at a cost of over K300,000, has larger space and the advanced equipment means the hospital can perform major operations.
According to Dr Silumesii, the operations can now be performed within the hospital unlike in the past when they had to transfer patients to the main hospital.
“We were referring people to Mongu. But we can now do more operations. This means more people will be attended to. With the new equipment, we’ll be able to do our work efficiently,” he says.
The old Kaoma District Hospital leaves much to be desired as the theatre is small, dingy and very depressing.
The facility is run down and one would mistake it for a haunted house save for a beam of light, which leads to the old theatre with old equipment.
An operating bed stands in the centre of the tightly-spaced theatre, which lacks much of the equipment Government has now invested in the new theatre.
And Dr Chilufya said the old infrastructure was small and wasn’t tailor-made to have a theatre as it poses a high risk in terms of sterility.
He said the modern theatre will improve the quality of services, response time and outcomes.
“It’s good to have everything operating under one roof as it also curbs the spread of infections when ferrying patients from one place to another,” he said.
Dr Chilufya revealed that the old Kaoma hospital will not just be left to rot but is earmarked for rehabilitation next year and conversion into a nursing school.
This is according to government’s policy to rehabilitate and expand existing health training institutions so as to increase the number of graduates.
For the people of Kaoma district, this hospital and in particular, the theatre, is a pearl of a gift which is in line with government’s Health Care policy to establish specialised care units that will be fully equipped and staffed in order to reduce the number of patients referred abroad and hence, promote health equity amongst citizens.
And in Mangango, Government has invested in equipment and ensured that the pharmacy at the Mangango Mission Hospital is well stocked with essential drugs.
This is also in line with the PF manifesto on Medicines and Technology to increase availability of essential medicines like ARVs, anti-malarials, antibiotics and commodities for emergency obstetric care.
The hospital could not have been functioning at full capacity without an injection of apt grants from Government based on its policy under Health Service Financing to ensure adequate and timely disbursement of grants to Health facilities.
This has promoted an effective and efficient health delivery system to the catchment area of 74,000 people of the district.
In Lukulu district, the provision and completion of Mulongo Rural Health Centre has brought smiles and relief to the people of the area who had to walk not less than 6km to access medical facilities.
Pregnant women were not exempted from walking stressful long distances just to receive antenatal care.
But this is now a thing of the past with Government’s quick intervention to bring health services as close to the people as possible.
Dr Chilufya said Government has already posted staff to the area and operations are expected to start within four weeks.
And acting Mitete and Lukulu district commissioner Evans Kawilila said it gives him great pleasure that the health centre has been completed.
“It is a gift for the people of Mulongo because of the tedious distances they’ve been taking to Lubosi and the main hospital,” he said with joy.
Meanwhile, a resident of the area, Lumba Simasiku, applauded Government for the gesture and urged it [government] to open the hospital as quickly as possible as the people in the area have suffered enough.
But a trip to Lukulu cannot be complete without paying a visit to what might be termed as one of the great wonders of Western Province, which is the New Lukulu District Hospital.
This infrastructure makes a statement in rural Lukulu as one would expect to see such a facility in urban areas.
It’s a marvel to behold because it speaks of modernity in every sense of the word.
Constructed by a Chinese company CJC, the New Lukulu hospital is spacious with a modern design.
Phase One of the facility includes an administration block, screening rooms, general outpatient, a section for dental and eye services, and physiotherapy, among others. It is constructed with the finest materials and boasts of a fine finish.
About the quality of such a hospital based in a rural area, Dr Chiulfya said it is Government’s policy to provide equal health services in a good and clean environment for all Zambians.
It is Government’s priority to continue constructing more health posts in Western Province and countrywide to achieve health for all Zambians.