LUSAKA/COPPERBELT, Zambia, 5-6 June 2017 – The 48.6 Million Euro (533.5 million Kwacha), European-Union funded Millennium Development Goal Initiative (MDGi) this week handed over three newly constructed maternity wings and one mother and child health (MCH) wing at Chikupi, Kafue Mission, Buchi Main and Twapia Health centres in Lusaka and Copperbelt Provinces respectively making an immediate difference to provide quality health care to the most vulnerable citizens – babies and their mothers. The four facilities also benefited from refurbishment of other buildings such as the outpatient department (OPD); and wash-in-health interventions that include water reticulation systems, chlorine production units, incinerators, and safe water points. The cost of the refurbishment and constructions at the four facilities in total amounts to 10,394,711.34 kwacha (US$1,111,201.9). An additional two million, nine hundred and sixty eight thousand, two hundred and fifty one kwacha (US$ 2,312,447) has been invested in these four health centers on medical equipment and supplies including training and operational support.
A full breakdown in costs of the refurbishment and constructions in Lusaka Province is 1,963,569 kwacha (US$206,500) for Chikupi Urban Health Centre and 1,989,656 million Kwacha (US$215,719) for Kafue Mission Health Centre. Costs for the Copperbelt Province is 2,692,695 million kwacha (US$288,527.8) for Twapia Health Centre and 3,748,791.34 kwacha (US$400,455.1) for Buchi Main Urban Health Centre.
MDGi aims at accelerating the reduction of maternal, neonatal and child mortality in Zambia. The programme is implemented by the Ministry of Health with technical support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Agency (UNFPA) with geographic coverage including: Ndola, Luanshya, Kitwe, Mufulira, Chingola and Masaiti districts in Copperbelt province and Kafue, Chilanga, Chongwe, and Rufunsa and Lusaka districts in Lusaka province. UNICEF is responsible for managing the funds from the European Union.
“Let me commend the European Union for supplementing Government efforts in taking health services closer to our people,” said the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, MP, as he officiated at the handovers. “Indeed, this is a true development partner in health and as Government, we shall do everything possible to nurture and treasure this partnership. These facilities previously faced inadequate space and equipment for health care workers to offer Reproductive Health, Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition (RMNCH-N) Services including deliveries; as well as absence of appropriate shelter during under 5 clinics. These investments have equipped these health centers with enhanced MCH facilities and capacitated health care providers and their community counter-parts who have also been supplied with essential utilities including the ambulances, bicycles and other supplies being handed over today, for effective implementation of their activities,” he continued.
The Ambassador of the European Union to Zambia and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), His Excellency Alessandro Mariani said, “The MDGi programme in Zambia has invested in a robust monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework, but most of the results will be reviewed and certified during this year (2017) and 2018 but we know that with the infrastructure refurbishment, supplies, and trainings, many lives are being saved. It is also prudent for me to mention that Zambia is a nation with great needs and one with a track record of getting development results for its people and based on these facts, the EU made the judgement that Zambia would receive the second largest disbursement of MDGi funds among 14 African nations.”
UNICEF Zambia Country Representative, Dr. Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim, said, “Because of MDGi, Kafue Mission Health Centre and Chikupi Rural Health Centre in Lusaka Province and Buchi Main Health Center as well as Twapia Urban Health Centre on the Copperbelt province, they can now treat many maternal complications that used to be referred to the district hospitals further kilometers away. By 2018, MDGi will have helped build the capacity of thousands of Neighborhood Health Committees comprising members of Safe Motherhood Action Groups, Infant Young Child Feeding community based volunteers, Integrated Community Case Management volunteers, Community-based Distributors and Peer Educators in Lusaka and Copperbelt Provinces and we are very grateful to the EU for their appreciated funding and leadership,” said Dr. El-Bashir.
MDGi’s support to the four refurbished health centers include the construction of new ultra-modern maternity wings with various delivery bed spaces in labor wards; OPD; new standard Maternal and Child Health wing which shall greatly improve the work environment for health care workers (HCWs) and patients. Prior to this, some of the facilities were not undertaking deliveries and could not operate 24 hours. With this support from MDGi, the facilities will be operating 24 hours also as delivery facilities. The facilities have also been furnished with a full complement of medical equipment and furniture that have rendered the new maternity and MCH wings as state of the art facilities with the capacity to provide Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care services.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Zambia, visit www.unicef.org/zambia.