Lumwana hospital risks being a white elephant


Lumwana Hospital in Solwezi district of Northwestern Province has not been opened to members of the public despite being completed and ready for use some three years ago.

This is because of lack of electricity at the health facility which was built at a cost of over K10 million.

The hospital now risks being a white elephant as there is no one taking care of the infrastructure.

A spot check by a ZANIS crew found that the buildings have been overgrown by grass and there are also signs of tear and wear on many parts of the buildings.

And senior chief Mukumbi of the Kaonde people of Solwezi district has passionately appealed to government to have the health facility commissioned so that people can start having easy access to health care services.

The traditional leader told ZANIS in an interview at his palace yesterday that it was unfortunate that people in the area have to travel over 80 kilometres to Solwezi to seek medical when they have a well constructed hospital.

He urged government to urgently find ways and means of providing electricity to the hospital so that it can be operational.

Chief Mukumbi noted that government spent colossal sums of money to have the health facility built and that it would be folly to see money go to waste.

And many residents in Lumwana have expressed disappointment with provincial authorities for failing to open the hospital in order for members of the public to have easy access to medical care services.

One of the residents, Dawson Kafwaya said the Member of Parliament for Solwezi West where the hospital is located should have used part of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to connect electricity to the area.

Mr. Kafwaya said connecting power to the hospital would not cost much noting that K500, 000 of CDF would have sufficed.

He said it was sad that patients have to be referred to Solwezi district hospital which is already congested.

Mr. Kafwaya said the authorities in the area should not wait for President Michael Sata to issue directives to have the hospital opened but should take it upon themselves to ensure they execute their responsibilities in a most efficient manner for government to be seen to be working.

He said Lumwana area was growing at a fast rate with a number of huge mines coming up.

He pointed out that for people working in the mines to have good health, they need to have good medical facilities.

Mr. Kafwaya said the community was very concerned with the delay to open the hospital.

He said the delay in opening Lumwana hospital will defeat government’s quest of taking health care services as close to the people as possible.

And another resident Gertrude Kaoma said the maternal mortality rate in the area has become high because of lack of easy access to medical care services for pregnant women.

Mrs. Kaoma also urged government to quickly resolve issues that have led to the hospital to remain uncommissioned three years after it was built.



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