Plans to upgrade Chawama, Chipata and Kanyama clinics in Lusaka to first-level hospitals have moved a major notch closer to realisation with Zambia and Japan signing a K400 million financing agreement for the projects.
Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Hidenobu Sobashima signed on behalf of his country while Minister of Finance Felix Mutati signed for Zambia.
Speaking after the signing ceremony in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Sobashima said the financing agreement demonstrates the strong bilateral ties between Zambia and Japan.
Mr Sobashima said upgrading the three clinics will help decongest the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and reduce maternal and child mortality rates in Lusaka.
He said once upgraded to first-level hospitals, Chawama, Chipata and Kanyama clinics will also reduce the number of referral cases to UTH.
“Japan has over the years assisted Zambia in areas of road and bridge infrastructure construction, health, education, capacity building, rural industrial development and private sector development,” Mr Sobashima said.
And Mr Mutati commended the Japanese government for its continued support to various sectors of Zambia’s economy.
“Under phase one of the project, Chilenje and Matero health centres were upgraded to first-level hospitals and were commissioned by President Lungu last month,” he said.
Mr Mutati assured the Japanese government of Zambia’s commitment to strengthening health service delivery systems in the country.
He said the basic approach to achieving this goal is by focusing on decongesting UTH and taking specialised health services to where people live.
The minister also thanked the Japanese government for helping Zambia with X-ray equipment which was distributed to 30 hospitals in various parts of the country.
“Government will continue strengthening health systems with emphasis on primary health care, promoting innovative health financing strategies and rehabilitation of health facilities and training schools through provision of state-of-the-art equipment,” Mr Mutati said.
He said Government will ensure that works on upgrading the three health institutions start before the end of this year.