GOVERNMENT’S pledge to upgrade health centres in Lusaka has taken a major step forward with Minister of Health Dr Joseph Kasonde formally breaking the ground for building two district hospitals at a cost of K120 million.
Lusaka Province has one second tertiary hospital (University Teaching Hospital) and one second level hospital (Levy Mwanawasa Hospital).
To take health services closer to the people, Government will upgrade five health centres into first level hospitals through construction of theatres.
These are at Chipata, Chawama, Chilenje, Matero, and Kanyama health facilities but these have not functioned effectively due to lack of support services.
Dr Kasonde said at the ground-breaking ceremony on Friday that Government, through support of the Japanese government, has received a grant aid to upgrade Matero and Chilenje health centres into full district hospitals.
The upgrade is scheduled for completion by August 2015.
Dr Kasonde said the scope of works at Matero Health Centre will include construction of outpatient department, administration, maternity ward, paediatrics wards, as well as provision of medical equipment among others.
At Chilenje Clinic the expansion will include construction of a double storey structure comprising outpatient department, maternity, administration, ancillary facilities as well as provision of medical equipment.
Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Kiyoshi Koinuma said the project includes construction of eight wards and related facilities, provision of medical equipment and transfer of skills in the operation and maintenance of medical equipment.
Mr Koinuma said this will increase access to district hospitals in Lusaka and reduce congestion at the UTH.
“The government of Japan is providing a grant of 19.99 billion yen, equivalent to approximately to US$19 million dollars or K104 million for their project and the construction period is estimated to be 13 months,” he said.
He said Matero, which currently treats about 77,000 people annually, will have the capacity to treat approximately 247,000 while Chilenje which is currently treating 77,000 people will now be able to treat 359,000 people.