The reconstruction of St. Paul’s Nursing School in Nchelenge district of Luapula province, which was destroyed in an inferno in 2011, has commenced.
Fire swept through the nursing school and burnt down students’ hostels, classroom blocks, staff offices and the kitchen thereby disrupting the training of nurses and midwives.
Government released about K1.2 million towards the rebuilding of the school in order for the training facility to continue and make a significant contribution to the number of trained health personnel in the country.
Deputy Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya, who toured the school recently to check on the progress made towards the reconstruction of the facility, was impressed with the workmanship and pace at which the contractor was moving.
Dr. Chilufya said the reconstruction of St. Paul’s Nursing School needed to be treated as a matter of urgency as the school was a critical partner in the training of nurse and midwives in the country.
He said government has continued to partner well with the Catholic Church in the provision of health services hence wanted this partnership to be strengthened.
Dr. Chilufya has since urged the provincial buildings engineer to ensure strict supervision of the contract to ensure that quality works are done.
He also implored the contractor to speed up works on the project in order to complete it within schedule.
Dr. Chilufya further reiterated government’s commitment to upscale the training of health staff in the country in order to meet the growing demand.
And St. Paul’s Nursing School Tutor Lazarus Mulunda said the destruction of the school has tremendously affected the enrolment levels.
Mr Mulunda said the school now has no facilities for students’ accommodation.
He said the enrolment of students has drastically dropped from about 60 students per year to under 40 students.
Meanwhile, St. Paul’s Hospital Administrator Catherine Tente said the health institution was facing a critical shortage of staff with only two medical doctors manning the health facility instead of six as per establishment.
Sr. Tente said doctors have been shunning the hospital because of the remoteness of the place.
She said there was need for government to introduce incentives that will attract health workers to rural hospitals so that they do not shun rural areas.
She further said people that live in rural areas should also have access to specialist treatment.