By BILKE MULENGA –
THE Government has taken big strides towards delivering improved healthcare services in all communities across the country.
Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya says his ministry enjoys unprecedented political will, hence it will continue focusing on delivering quality healthcare services to all Zambians.
Dr Chilufya says President Edgar Lungu has attached great importance to all health policies to ensure equity of health services in all parts of the country.
He expressed delight about President Lungu’s stance on health matters, saying that a healthy population has the potential to accelerate various economic activities.
“President Edgar Lungu has demonstrated a great determination in improving health systems in the country. It is clear that our President has always worked to ensure that all citizens have an opportunity of accessing quality healthcare services just within their communities,” he said.
Because of such good health policies being implemented by the Government, most districts in Zambia have been recording robust achievements in healthcare service delivery.
In Eastern Province, some districts have enhanced quality healthcare services to the people.
One such district is Lundazi.
Lundazi District Health Director Davy Zulu said in an interview recently that the district was on course in delivering quality healthcare services to the local population.
He said despite its vast size, his office had made sure that every community in Lundazi has a health facility to serve the people.
Dr Zulu explained that all health workers in Lundazi had been instructed to work in line with Government policies of ensuring quality healthcare services to every citizen.
“We have 50 health facilities dotted around the district and all these facilities have reasonable numbers of health workers who deliver health services to all the people in their respective catchment areas as well as the surrounding communities,” he said.
He said that all the 50 health facilities were situated at least a few kilometers from each other, making it possible for patients to walk and access medical services within a reasonable distance.
Dr Zulu said the district had sufficient transport to deliver medical and non medical supplies to all health centres to enable health workers do their duties without major challenges.
“Our facilities are in two parts, those on the plateau and others in the valley. However, in terms of service delivery they are all up to the task.
“Our ministry headquarters gives us enough support in terms of staff, transport, as well as medical and non medical supplies and as such, we have a good opportunity of making sure that adequately deployed in all the facilities and the transport helps us to ferry all emergencies from rural health centres to our district hospital for further management,” Dr Zulu said.
In Mambwe District, health services have also been scaled up to match the growth of the region.
This has excited both the local people in the communities as well as the health workers who serve them.
Ms Enala Banda of Masumba commended the health workers for their unwavering effort in attending to patients in the area.
She said each time patients went to the clinic, they were treated with care and subjected to good healthcare services.
“Speaking on my behalf and maybe even on behalf of other people in our community, I would say that all health services in our district are good. We are always being given enough medicine and in terms of pregnant mothers, they also receive adequate treatment and care,” Ms Banda said.
Mambwe District Health Director Dr George Mushanga said the district had in the recent past been recording positive success in child maternal health.
Dr Mushanga said infant deaths had been reduced and that had pleased the health workers and people in the communities.
He said Mambwe District has 18 health facilities and statistics on child maternal deaths per quarter were below five cases.
Dr Mushanga pointed out that most health facilities had mothers’ shelters where expectant mothers would go and lodge while waiting for their due date to deliver.
“Most of our health centres have mothers’ shelters. These are the lodging facilities where expecting mothers who stay in communities far away from the health centres would go and lodge before their due date,” he said.
The shelters help in keeping such pregnant mothers close to the health facilities so that they are closely monitored by the health workers.
He said this is important so that should there be any complication, the health staff can quickly call an ambulance from the district or zonal point to ferry the patient to the district health facility for further management.
Katete, a district located on the Great East road some two hours drive before Chipata, is another area that is working towards ensuring that the disease burden among local people is reduced.
Katete District Health Director Adamson Ndlovu said the district has mitigated the increase of HIV cases among adolescents in the local communities.
Dr Ndlovu, said Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision is one of the avenues his health workers use to curb the increase in transmission of HIV among the adolescent in the district.
“With the support from the Ministry of Health in Lusaka and of course our provincial office in Chipata, we put in place all programmes that can help to reduce the infection rate of HIV among the youths.
“For example, the programme of male circumcision is doing very well among the youth. We sensitise our male youth on the benefits there are in the simple surgery of removing the foreskin from the manhood,” he said.
He said district has many sites, both mobile and static ones, as well as those which open just during the campaign period during the school holidays.
It is clear from all these health centres that the importance of the support which the Zambian Government attaches to the operations of the health sector cannot be over emphasised.
It is in this regard that the Ministry of Health, under Dr Chilufya, should be commended for its resolve to deliver quality healthcare services to all parts of the country.