The Zambia Civil Society Health Partnership (ZCSHeP) has commended government for a good medical supply chain of between 90 to 100 per cent countrywide.
Partnership National Coordinator Humphrey Monde said his organisation was recently evaluating the performance of the health sector in 2012 particularly in Northern and Copperbelt provinces and observed that the distribution of medicines and other medical equipment was well done.
Zambia Civil Society Health Partnership is an umbrella body for all nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations that evaluate the performance of the health sector in previous years and is strengthening partnerships in the health sector.
Mr. Monde told ZANIS in Lusaka today that there were only a few cases where equipment for malaria detection was lacking but noted that the situation has since been attended to.
He however appealed to government to expedite the purchasing of ambulances in various districts across the country and to also provide utility vehicles because this will help cut on loss of lives when referring patients to distant areas.
He has further called on government to speed up infrastructure development in its bid to build 600 health centres that are earmarked for this year in order to bring adequate health service delivery closer to the people.
Furthermore, Mr. Monde advised government to consider confirming medical personnel that have for some time been working on acting positions to motivate them to carry out their duties effectively.
He observed that countrywide, the health sector has over 53,000 volunteers whose performance was outstanding.
He said government should empower these volunteers t with cash transfer or other empowerment schemes that will help sustain their lives as they conduct their voluntary duties.
And Communication Specialist for the organisation, Jaye Allan said there were serious challenges of inadequate human resource in most health centres particularly in rural areas.
Ms. Allan noted that most health facilities did not have required medical personnel such as doctors while a number of clinical officers have been acting in their positions for a long time without salaries.
She said even though the maternal mortality rates have reduced due to help from neighbourhood health committees, there was still need for government to employ more midwives in rural health centres.
She observed that most labour wards were small and had no equipment while others have the equipment which is just going to worst because it has not been installed.
Ms. Allan said in addition, there were no qualified personnel to operate these equipment.
She said there was also need to expand wards, including labour wards, in most rural health centres in the country.
She said expectant mothers should have pre-natal consultation rooms and mothers shelters which she said were comprehensive facilities for child birth.
And Ms. Allan observed that the medical supply of major illnesses such as tuberculosis, HIV and malaria was generally good but said this should also extended to other diseases such as cervical cancer and diabetes.
She further observed that the Ministry of Health was working hard to deliver good health services to the people countrywide hence the organisation’s commitment to partnering with government at community level.
Ms. Allan said her organisation would like to partner with the Ministry of Health in training volunteers in capacity building in order to strengthen the community neighbourhood committees.
She said health personnel also needed to be trained in record keeping, have computers and other necessary equipment for them to be able to manage their data properly.