(By Salim Dawood in Pemba)
CHILDREN in Pemba district of Southern Province have celebrated the construction of the first ever modern hospital in the area saying it has made their rights to health and life possible.
World Vision has constructed a yet-to-be commissioned modern hospital equipped with medical equipment and six staff houses at a cost of K8.1 million.
The 50-bed capacity hospital has become the first modern health facility in the district and is expected to cater for about 78,000 people in the area.
Chief Moyo, along with World Vision officials led his subjects in celebrating the successful construction of the hospital funded by US donors.
Popular Southern Province musical group Mashombe Blue Jeans spiced the celebration with a live performance of some of their popular hits much to the pleasure of the residents.
Excited residents, who could not resist the tunes, from an all-male band donning blue outfits, took to dance outdoing each other.
Pupils of Moyo Primary School, located right next to the hospital, spoke emotionally during the celebration held on Friday afternoon.
“Health is wealth, brothers and sisters, our rights to health and life have been made possible by the building of this hospital by World Vision. Thank you very much for giving us hope for tomorrow,” said Betty Hanyaka, a Grade 8, as she and other pupils recited a poem of gratitude.
Elastus Chikwanda, another pupil – a Garde 6 – said before the construction of the hospital, people in the area faced challenges of lack of proper medical care, walking long distances to take patients to Monze which had the nearest health facility.
“Indeed health is wealth. We salute our government for partnering with World Vision in building this hospital. Yes, the only modern hospital in Pemba district. Your royal highness, Chief Moyo, we salute you for availing this piece of land towards the construction of this hospital,” said Brian Hamuguna, a Grade 7 pupil.
Brian Musonda, another Grade 6 pupil, appealed to people in the area to guard and protect the hospital from vandalism.
World Vision operations director Wezi Kaira said his organisation desired that the completion of the hospital would foster a healthier and productive community that would focus on building a future for its children.
Kaira told the gathering that a total K5.7 million had been spent on the construction of the hospital with an additional K2.4 million spent on medical equipment, rehabilitation of old structures, and the purchase of an ambulance along with putting in place a mechanised piped water system.
“Some of the most important structures that have been constructed include the theatre block, radiology department, maternal and child health block, six staff houses, anti-retroviral therapy clinic among many others that make a hospital a one stop centre,” he said.
Kaira told chief Moyo that World Vision sought to continue improving the health and general well-being of children and their families through such interventions.
“It is World Vision’s desire that by 2020, we contribute to improving the lives of one million people through literacy, health, food security and livelihood and water sanitation and hygiene programmes being implemented in our 34 area programmes spread in nine of the 10 provinces of Zambia,” Kaira said.
He called upon chief Moyo, the government, and the community to work closely and ensure the hospital was well taken care of.
And chief Moyo said he did not have the appropriate words of gratitude for World Vision for the construction of the hospital in his area.
The traditional leader said his chiefdom had never gotten such a hospital.
He expressed gratitude to World Vision and its American donors for funding the construction of the hospital.
Moyo instructed his headmen to inform the people in the chiefdom to come to the hospital whenever they felt unwell instead of staying home and believing they had been bewitched.