PRESIDENT Michael Sata has directed the Ministry of Education to accelerate the construction of university infrastructure countrywide.
Mr Sata said there was need to hasten the process of building education infrastructure to operationalise the institutions in the shortest time possible.
The institutions in question are the Robert Makasa, Paul Mushindo and Palabana universities while others are Chalimbana, Mukuba and Kwame
Nkhrumah universities where additional infrastructure is being put in place.
The President made the directive when he officially opened Parliament yesterday.
He said that to address the critical shortage of student accommodation in institutions of higher learning, the Government had embarked on a programme to construct 4,160 bed space student hostels at the University of Zambia, 3,200 for the Copperbelt University, 1,280 for Mulungushi University and 960 bed spaces at Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce.
Mr Sata said education and skills development were key to the Government’s overall goal of achieving accelerated national development.
He said the Government had also completed constructing 41 of the 84 targeted secondary schools, representing 49 per cent completion rate within a short space of time while the remaining 43 schools were at various stages of construction.
On health, Mr Sata said access to quality health services by all Zambians r
emained the cornerstone of the Government’s health policy.
He said the Government had continued to increase availability of health frontline staff, health infrastructure, drugs and other medical supplies and equipment.
To mitigate the shortage of medical personnel, Government was rehabilitating and constructing training institutions, with two new training institutions under construction in Senanga and Lusaka at Levy Mwanawasa General hospital.
Twenty-seven health training institutions are also under rehabilitation and expansion.
“These works, when completed, will increase the health institutions’ training capacity by 4,500 students, bringing the total to 10,000. This includes the 3,000 student capacity health training facility at Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital,” Mr Sata said.
He said that construction of 650 health posts had started and was expected to be completed by 2016.
Mr Sata said 30 district hospitals were also under construction and by the end of this year, the Government would further embark on the construction of an additional eight district hospitals in Mafinga, Ikelengi, Nalolo, Limulunga, Vubwi, Mansa, Mufulira and Chilubi.
The President said the Government was implementing the modernisation and upgrading of health institutions to improve the quality of healthcare and reduce referrals to India and other parts of the world.
Modern infrastructure had also been put up at the University Teaching Hospital, Kitwe and Ndola Central hospitals and Livingstone General Hospital and that the programme would be extended soon.
Mr Sata further informed the House that the Government had made progress in decentralising the operations of Medical Stores Limited to ensure timely and efficient delivery of medicines and medical supplies across the country.
The President directed the ministers of Health and Community Development Mother and Child Health to ensure a radical reduction in deaths of mothers in pregnancy and child birth, elimination of malaria, mother-to-child transmission of HIV and elimination of stock outs in the supply of drugs to healthcare institutions.
Times of Zambia