US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote has told the Zambian government to reduce its reliance on donor assistance.
During the handover ceremony of six utility vehicles valued at over US $225 000 (K2.3 million) to the Ministry of Health in Lusaka yesterday, Ambassador Foote commended the Zambian government for its commitment towards fighting HIV/AIDS.
“I have also come to thank the minister and your ministry for the amazing work that you are doing in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic which remains the number one health threat here in Zambia. Through the US President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Reduction (PEPFAR), the US has played and will continue to play a leading role in the fight against HIV/AIDS here in Zambia. About two weeks ago as we all know, PEPFAR joined partners, including yourselves, advocates, researchers, and others around the world at the 22nd International AIDS conference. The theme of this 2018 AIDS conference was ‘Breaking barriers, building bridges.’ PEPFAR is doing just that by serving and improving millions of lives, accelerating progress to achieving epidemic control, reaching some of the populations that are left behind, promoting sustainability and bringing us closer than ever to ending AIDS,” Ambassador Foote said.
“The US government remains by far the most committed partner to the Republic of Zambia and the Ministry of Health…a partnership that we started over 15 years ago. I urge the Zambian government to continue to increase its financial commitment, and to reduce its reliance on donor assistance as it becomes a regional leader in independent health care provision. Since PEPFAR started in 2003, as a critical piece of the US $3.5 billion, that’s US $3.5 million that the American people have dedicated to Zambia’s health through PEPFAR, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has provided remarkable support to the Ministry of Health aimed at increasing the capacity of the ministry’s national HIV/AIDS response through coordination, policy development and mentorship.”
He said the donation of six utility vehicles was an important tangible symbol of the US government’s enormous shared commitment.
“The six utility vehicles will help the ministry provide oversight through coordination, monitoring and supervision of the national responses to Tuberculosis, Voluntary Male Circumcision, training programmes, Information Communication Technology and the adult anti-retro viral therapy programme,” Ambassador Foote said.
“Through CDC Zambia and other US agencies, the US government will continue working side by side with the Ministry of Health to deliver effective, long term HIV prevention and care for all the people in need. I am hopeful and confident that the ministry will effectively utilise these six vehicles for programme implementation and for improving access to health care services as we strive together for Zambia to reach HIV epidemic control by 2020. We owe it to our kids and grandchildren to eliminate this disease.”
And health minister Chitalu Chilufya thanked the US government for the donation saying the six utility vehicles would be put to good use.
Meanwhile, during the donation and launch of the Endoscopy Centre at Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital, Dr Chilufya said endoscopy services had for a long time eluded most of the public hospitals
“It is with great pleasure that I am officiating at the opening of this Endoscopy Centre. This facility has been established at great cost with support from the government of China. This is yet another milestone of China’s support to Zambia’s health sector. Despite their critical importance, such services have been restricted to those that can afford to pay for them in private hospitals. This will no longer be the case as this Endoscopy Centre brings latest techniques in diagnosis and treatment closer to the ordinary Zambian. The opening of this Centre is therefore a landmark event not only for Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital, but for the entire medical fraternity in the country,” Dr Chilufya said.
“This is a clear show of friendship by the Chinese government for the hospital and the people of Zambia in general. What makes this even more delightful is the fact that not only do we have the equipment but also the local personnel who have been fully trained. The trained personnel will in turn train other providers countrywide. This hospital is the main campus for the Specialist Training Program (STP). By equipping this facility, you are equipping Zambia as a whole as all the specialists in training will have an opportunity to learn.”
Dr Chilufya said endoscopy was critical as it would be used in both emergency and elective cases.
“Not only will endoscopy save lives and time – it will save the country a lot of resources as it is simpler and less invasive. This Endoscopy Centre will provide a wide range of endoscopic examinations and address the challenges we have had of diagnosing conditions in the: oesophagus, stomach, small intestines, the colon, biliary tree, and the entire airway.”
“Endoscopy is also handy in managing emergencies such as bleeding ulcers, removing foreign bodies from the airway and the GIT. We look forward to a time when we will not need to do surgery when dealing with hollow organs that can be accessed by the scopes.”