FIRST Lady Christine Kaseba has said community participation is vital in the health sector of the country.
Speaking during the Kitwe Central Hospital (KCH)’s Open Day as well as the Golden Jubilee celebrations for Kitwe School of Nursing on Friday, Dr Kaseba said efforts by the Government to improve the health sector would be in vain without community participation.
The First Lady said the Government was aware that effective communication between a health facility and the people that it served was important as it encouraged dialogue, which resulted in the exchange of information and knowledge that ultimately improved service delivery.
Dr Kaseba said Open Days were also important in affording the community with an opportunity to interact with the hospital staff with a view to learning more about the successes and challenges health workers faced.
She said this was one way members of the public could gain a better understanding and appreciation of services that an institution provided.
The First Lady said doing so would also reduce occasional confrontations, misgivings and conflicts between staff and the public, which normally were a result of wrong perceptions and misconceptions among the people.
“Let me stress here that for these Open Days to be successful, it is vital that all parties share a common understanding of the goals and outcomes of the Open Day initiative. These Open Days are meant to improve the flow of information from hospitals to the public,” Dr Kaseba said.
“Efforts by the Government to improve the health sector will be in vain without community participation.”
Dr Kaseba said it was gratifying that KCH management had recognized the importance of community participation in the delivery of services and, as such, had opened the hospital doors to the public.
She encouraged management to take note of all the observations and comments from the public as that was the only way they could check themselves.
Dr Kaseba further called on health workers in Zambia to have empathy towards patients for their work to be satisfying and appreciated.
She also implored the community to stop vandalising hospital property, to help in repairs and maintenance of hospital infrastructure and to demand for accountability on how resources given to the hospital by both the Government and donors were used.
The First Lady, who toured the KCH and various Open Day stands, further promised to see how best a 16-year-old girl who had a two-month-old baby born with both female and male sex organs could be assisted.
KCH senior medical superintendent John Mwewa said the institution had undergone many development changes in infrastructure development as well as increasing programmes offered.
Dr Mwewa, however, said the institution was faced with challenges such as constant repairs and inadequate transport, among others.
Health Deputy Minister Chitalu Chilufya, Kitwe District Commissioner Elias Kamanga and Copperbelt provincial medical officer Consity Mwale were among the dignitaries that attended the function.