Govt. values private partnership in health services delivery-Kasonde

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-Minister of Health Joseph Kasonde has said government’s collaboration with the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) presented a clear testimony of a valued and reliable partnership in health service delivery to the people.

Dr. Kasonde said the Patriotic Front (PF) government was proud of the manner in which CHAZ conducts its business with dignity and transparency.

The minister was speaking in Lusaka today when he officially opened the 42nd Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) General Council and the pharmaceutical warehouse.

The CHAZ pharmaceutical warehouse has been built at a cost of US$1.5 million and was funded by the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Dr. Kasonde has since called on the CHAZ Warehouse staff to actively participate in national annual forecasting and quantification meeting organized by the Ministry of Health to develop and aggregate national quantifications and establish gaps for all health commodities.

He also encouraged CHAZ to be proactive and ensure that the medicines reach their destinations adding that it was unacceptable to have medicines available in the warehouse when health facilities have no stocks.

Dr. Kasonde has since urged CHAZ to use the warehouse as a hub in the chain to the end users.

He has further congratulated CHAZ for attaining 42 years of existence and providing quality health care to the Zambian people especially those in the rural and hard to reach areas of the country.

Dr. Kasonde added that while government strives to restore a sense of responsibility and commitment among health workers in the country, the church remains a cardinal component in supporting governments’ effort in changing the attitude of health workers.

He said it was regrettable that the majority workforce does not have a missionary attitude which characterized the early church workers.

He said government was aware of the many challenges which CHAZ was facing in health service delivery.

The minister said government will therefore endeavor to ensure that CHAZ facilities were not left out whenever opportunities to improve and tackle the challenges were available.

Dr. Kasonde said government was committed to supporting the complementary work of the church in health by adhering to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two bodies.

In the MoU, government deploys health workers to mission hospitals, provides essential medicines, and supports operational costs and other forms of support among others.

And CHAZ Executive Director Karen Sichinga thanked the Patriotic Front (PF) government for the unwavering support it has offered to her association since coming into office in 2011.

Mrs. Sichinga said for the first time in history, her association was able to discuss with government on matters affecting the nation particularly on the health care delivery systems.

She said the new CHAZ warehouse will supplement medical stores on note exchanging, drugs and other medical commodities in case of delays in the arrival of consignments for either of the warehouses.

Mrs. Sichinga said this year’s general council meeting theme, “the Healing Ministry of the Church”, is in line with the organization’s vision of “seeing a society where all people are healthy and live a productive life, to the glory of God”.

She explained that it was for this reason that the CHAZ warehouse and pharmaceutical supply centre was considered as an integral component of national supply chain.

Mrs. Sichinga noted that CHAZ was committed to working in rural and hard to reach areas.