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Zambia, Sweden to strengthen health ties

MINISTER of Health Joseph Kasonde (left) meets Swedish Minister for Health Care, Public Health and Sport Gabriel Wikström at his office in Lusaka yesterday. PICTURE: MACKSON WASAMUNU

NANCY SIAME – Lusaka
SWEDISH Minister of Health Care, Public Health and Sport Gabriel Wikstrom says his government appreciates the relationship that exists between Sweden and Zambia.
He said his government is willing to invest more in Zambia’s health sector to improve the health care system.
Mr Wikstrom said Zambia and Sweden face similar challenges in the health sector and that it is important that the two countries work together to achieve a common goal.
He said this in Lusaka yesterday when he and his delegation paid a courtesy call on Minister of Health Joseph Kasonde.
“We are here to strengthen the relationship we share so that we can make it more concrete,” he said.
And Dr Kasonde said Zambia and Sweden will continue to enjoy cordial bilateral relations that have existed since independence.
He said Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), has remained a key partner in the development of Zambia’s health sector.
“I am happy to state that the Swedish support which is coming directly to the expanded basket in the Ministry of Health has made and continues to make significant contributions towards improving the lives of many Zambians,” Dr Kasonde said.
Dr Kasonde said Government has recognised that the private sector can play a major role in the development of the health sector.
“For us, this is another window of opportunity to develop the health sector and we will continue to learn from the vast experience of your country,” he said.
The minister said Zambia is experiencing a rise in non-communicable diseases, and that this has necessitated a number of interventions and a shift in the provision of health services.
Dr Kasonde said Government is looking at modernising hospitals to enable them meet the demand for specialised treatment.
“With regard to the cancer control programme, I want to make a plea for Swedish experts to be seconded to the cancer hospital,” he said.

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