GOVERNMENT has urged its Foreign Mission in South Africa to focus on attracting private health sector investment into Zambia in order to supplement the Government’s efforts.
This is contained in a statement released to the media by Zambian High Commission Press Secretary Nicky Shabolyo.
Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister, Mr. Rayford Mbulu has said that Zambia’s Mission in South Africa should not just focus on attracting the traditional commerce type of investment but should cast its net wider and approach private health facilities such as Morningside Clinic and invite them to invest in Zambia.
Mr. Mbulu was speaking yesterday soon after visiting prominent businessman, Mr. Edgar Ngoma, who is admitted to Morningside Clinic in Johannesburg.
“When in Foreign Missions, we need to cast our net wider and go beyond the normal call of duty. I have seen that this model at this facility is very good and I encourage you to engage them and many others so that we can collaborate and have their presence in Zambia,” Mr. Mbulu said.
He cited the South African mix of insurance companies and medical schemes working in collaboration with health facilities, as something that the Mission should study and help drive in its implementation in Zambia.
“As we approach these medical institutions to entice them to come and invest in Zambia, there is also need to work out a model which will make it possible for our people to afford the services.”
Mr. Mbulu, who was accompanied by Zambia’s High Commissioner- Designate to South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba, pointed out that with its central location, Zambia had the potential of becoming the hub of medical service provision for the region.
Mr. Mbulu, who was on his way to Croatia on Government duty, took time off before his connection flight to visit Mr. Ngoma
And Mr. Ngoma pledged to champion the drive of attracting South African private health sector investment into Zambia after he leaves hospital.
Mr. Ngoma who was full of praise for the clinic staff said Morningside had the state-of-the-art facilities coupled with professional personnel which made it possible for patients to recuperate well.
“We should all as citizens within our individual or collective efforts, try to help our government by lobbying private health facilities, such as this one, to come into Zambia. I agree with the honourable minister, Government’s efforts need to be supplemented,” he said.
Mr. Ngoma, who was evacuated to Morningside Clinic by the Zambian Government on Thursday, said he was feeling much better and was waiting for more procedures to be done on him. He thanked Government for facilitating his evacuation.
Deputy Minister Mr. Mbulu said he was happy to hear that Mr. Ngoma was recuperating well.
“We thank God Almighty that your feel better. We have not been together for a long time but to see you like this shows that you are recuperating well. Everyone needs a rest just like any machine. You cannot keep going the way you have been going. I can assure you this is time well spent,” Mr. Mbulu said.
And Mr. Ngoma utilise the time to narrate how he interacted with late President Michael Sata and how he, together with President Edgar Lungu who was then Defence Minister and Patriotic Front Secretary General, convinced the former President to appear at a public rally to drum up support for the PF candidate. This was to be President Sata’s last public appearance.
Mr. Ngoma said Mr. Sata called for him and President Lungu (then Defence Minister) at State House. When the two arrived, Mr. Sata shepherded them to his ground floor office as he had become too weak to go up the stairs to his usual office. After the three had sat down, Mr. Ngoma said Mr. Sata then asked him to direct all the support and energies to Mr. Lungu so that he (Mr. Lungu) “can succeed in what lay ahead of him.”
“After we sat, Mr. Sata said to us: ‘Whatever you were doing for me, do it for this one. Take all the people who want to support the party to this relative of yours.’ He told me to support Mr. Lungu and then immediately asked us to leave,” Mr. Ngoma narrated.
He said he had always had it in his mind that the then Defence Minister would one day lead Zambia and that he became even more convinced that the country had found its next President when Mr. Sata asked him to throw his weight behind Mr. Lungu.
“We refused to leave and quickly asked him to come with us to the next campaign rally in Solwezi. Mr. Sata refused and at that point, Mr. Lungu beckoned to me to help convince the big man. In his usual mannerisms, he paused, then lowered his spectacles from his eyes and gave us a piercing look.”
Mr. Ngoma pointed out that Mr. Sata was preoccupied with reconciling the PF which at that time was engulfed with internal wrangling. “Mr. Sata then asked if he could come to the rally with some senior members who had been identified as leading the warring factions in the party. Mr. Sata’s strategy was also to use this as a way of reconciling the party.
“It was a wonderful time, with a lot of jubilation from the people when we arrived in Solwezi. President Sata eventually addressed the cheering crowd. I was not following President Sata then nor am I following President Lungu blindly. I am well educated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Politics and a Master’s degree in the same discipline, both from Ashley University in the US, among other qualifications. I know what I have been doing and just thought I should share this so that people can get to know what transpired,” Mr. Ngoma said.