By JAMES KUNDA –
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has said Zambians have experienced the sincerity of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government in rolling out equal development across the country.
Mr Lungu said the Government would not be moved by the incessant criticism of people who sought to intimidate it from delivering on the 2016 election campaign promises to the people.
The Head of State was speaking in Lusaka yesterday when he broke the ground for the construction of the Lusaka Specialised Hospital on Kenneth Kaunda International Airport Road.
The hospital is among the three being simultaneously constructed in selected parts of the country at a cost of US$159 million.
The other two facilities under the same package, of which China National Complete Engineering Corporation is the contractor, are a general hospital in Petauke and another in Chinsali.
“The results are there for all to see,” the President said. “Indeed, we are walking the talk in fulfilling our manifesto promises, not only upgrading the health sector infrastructure, but across other areas too.”
President Lungu said among the specialised services the hospital would offer after commissioning in 2020 were cardiology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, nephrology, spinal services, organ transplants and rehabilitation services.
He said the construction of the Chinsali and Petauke general hospitals and other health facilities in the country would reduce the disease burden, especially for non-communicable diseases.
Mr Lungu said the health facilities would improve the quality of local health services and reduce on the number of people referred for specialised treatment abroad.
President Lungu directed the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development to ensure that sub-contractors and suppliers of materials engaged as many locals on the project as possible.
He also directed the ministry to collaborate with the Ministry of Health to formulate a policy which should create a prerequisite in all contracts, how a consultant or contractor intended to help mitigate the spread of the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, during the project construction.
“I am prompted to say this because wherever there is a project, people come from various places and whenever this is so, it is imperative that we are proactive in ensuring that our people are protected from the scourge,” Mr Lungu said.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming said his government and the contractor facilitated the loan agreement for the project due to the importance that China attached to supporting Zambia’s national development.
China National Complete Engineering Corporation vice-general manager Qu Qingzhu assured the Government that the Lusaka, Chinsali and Petauke projects would all be delivered within the stipulated time-frame.
Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya and his counterparts for Housing and Infrastructure Ronald Chitotela and Lusaka Province, Japhen Mwakalombe took turns in defining the project as a permanent legacy of Mr Lungu’s presidency.