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Kafue Gorge’s expectant mothers get Zesco boost

PERSONS nursing their sick relatives at Kafue Gorge Community Hospital (KGCH) should thank Zesco Limited, now that the long-awaited mother’s shelter has finally come to fruition. These care-givers will no longer spend nights in the cold while looking after the sick.
The completed and fully furnished mother’s shelter valued at K565,000 was on May 21, 2015 handed to the community by  Zesco Limited acting managing director Victor Mundende.
The community hospital services over 5,000 people and most of them are coming from far-away places. Whenever a patient is admitted at the hospital, care-givers or relatives greatly suffered because they had no where to sleep or cook from, while their patient was admitted.
Indeed, May 21 will go down in history for the Kafue Gorge community and many surrounding areas in Chikankata district as care-givers will now be provided with a safe and restful modern facility.
Expectant mothers will no longer be forced to give birth at home in poor conditions with little assistance.
“Most of us live several kilometres away from the hospital.  We have to walk long distances to get to the nearest health facility. Most of our mothers and other expectant persons cannot even make it to a health facility in time. Thank God a modern mother’s shelter has finally been handed over to the hospital and the community.
“We are extremely happy because we shall no longer spend our nights in the cold or even have our food  soaked during the rainy season. I would like to thank Zesco for this facility,” says Erica Mweemba, 69, a grandmother to an expectant 16-year-old Debby Mweemba (not real name).
At the handover ceremony Mr Mundende said the mother’s shelter is one of the many co-operate social responsibility projects which has been undertaken by his organisation.
The project, which started in 2005, entailed construction of a building to accommodate people nursing their sick relatives at KGCH. It was initiated by Zesco women’s group comprising of female employees and male employees’ spouses.
The women’s group identified the need for a shelter after realising how much people were suffering due to the absence of a convenient place for them to cook and sleep while nursing their loved ones.
Mr Mundende explained that the women embarked on fundraising ventures, solicited for funds from organisations as well as received donations from well-wishers in order to finance the project.  However, the project stalled for some time due to lack of adequate resources.
In 2012, Zesco management made the decision to complete the project under its corporate social responsibility programme and using internal manpower in the civil engineering department.
“You may wish to know that we are not only handing over the completed building but we have gone an extra mile to furnish the shelter with a television set, kitchen equipment and 16 beds and mattresses. I would like to thank all employees who worked tirelessly to see the project through to completion,” Mr Mundende said.
Zesco is appealing to beneficiaries to look after the mother’s shelter so that it continues to benefit the community for a long time to come.
With the availability of the mother’s shelter, it is expected that Chikankata District will see a drop in the number babies and mothers dying as expectant mothers would be registering early for antenatal care, resulting in reduced number of maternal complications.
At the same function district medical officer Keith Mweembo said he is happy the shelter will address issues such as delays in seeking, accessing and receiving health care.
Dr Mweembo said the shelter will also enable pregnant women to relocate to the hospital in good time for delivery.
“I am happy that our pregnant women will now be able to deliver safe facility. Our challenge is to ensure that we guard this facility jealously to ensure that other generations after us would also have an opportunity to use it,” he said.
Dr Mweembo has since called on other stakeholders to emulate Zesco in uplifting the welfare of the people in the district.
Chikankata acting district commissioner Trevor Kayanda hailed Zesco management for complementing Government’s effort regarding the health sector.
Mr Kayanda said it is a timely gesture as people faced many challenges especially in the cold season.
KGCH chief nursing officer Monica Milamboa disclosed that the hospital has a total number of 22 nursing staff, with a 52-bed capacity.
Mr Milambo said, “We conduct an average of two deliveries in a day. We are happy that the mother’s shelter has finally been handed over to the hospital and the community at large. This will definitely reduce on the high maternal mortality rates the district has been experiencing in the past.
“Once more thanks to Zesco Limited and, hopefully, the mother’s shelter at the Kafue Gorge Community Hospital will be guarded and looked after jealously to meet the needs of the growing population, delivery and birth rate and reduce maternal mortality and save newborn life with a quality mother’s shelter.”

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