Minister of Health Jonas Chanda has called for increased support to Covid-19 management at district level on the Copperbelt province. Dr Chanda said there was a need to devise a mentorship plan to build capacity in specialized critical care management to stop the movement of critically ill Covid-19 patients from other districts to Ndola Teaching Hospital.
“ I want to discourage the movement of Covid -19 patients in a delicate condition, this may even result in losing the patient, therefore, let us instead build capacity in specialized critical care among other needs like oxygen supply and manpower at the district level,” he said.
He was speaking when he visited Luanshya district on a familiarization tour of health facilities including a Covid -19 centre in Roan section 5.
Dr. Chanda observed that finding locally based solutions to Covid-19 management at district level was a sustainable approach as opposed to transferring critical patients to Ndola.
He further said the management of Covid -19 was not a preserve of public health facilities alone, calling on the private sector with the capacity to come on board and help in the management of the coronavirus cases.
“Let’s share the burden. I want to see the private hospitals on the Copperbelt with the capacity to come up and manage Covid-19 cases, of course, that should be after they are scrutinized and are seen to be capable to help in this fight because it is a multi-sectoral problem that needs concerted efforts if we are to stem Covid-19,” he observed.
Earlier, Luanshya District Health Director John Kamalamba disclosed that the district had nine active Covid-19 cases admitted to Clinic 5 isolation centre.
Dr. Kamalamba, however, stated that the district had no capacity to manage critical Covid-19 cases hence was referring patients to Ndola Teaching Hospital for specialized care.
He further explained that the centre was used to manage mild Covid-19 cases and that it was also a transit point for patients needing escalated care to Ndola Teaching Hospital.
“We are using the centre for patients needing mild treatment, but for those needing specialized treatment, we are transferring them to Ndola where they can access oxygen as the hospital doesn’t have enough capacity to handle critical cases,” he explained.
And Copperbelt Province Medical Director Robert Zulu said the initiative to create Covid-19 centres was to isolate the cases from the general patients.
Dr. Zulu said patients at clinic 5 did not require intensive care and could be managed on oxygen concentrators but those with critical conditions are moved to Ndola Teaching Hospital for high flow of oxygen care.
“In Ndola, the level of care is high as we have specialised staff such as critical care nurses and intensivists among others,” he said.
The Health Minister toured Kamirenda clinic and the Luanshya pediatric hospital at section 25 clinic which is still under construction.
He also toured Thompson and Roan hospitals where he was met with challenges of obsolete equipment, unserviced equipment, and lack of laboratory reagents.
“We don’t want museums for hospitals. We will work to transform these facilities and prioritise service delivery. I have asked the provincial health office to do a comprehensive health services report for Luanshya, Ndola, Kitwe, and the entire Copperbelt Province in areas of infrastructure facilities, human resource, and medical equipment so we can make them work,” he said.
The minister is in the Copperbelt Province to familiarize himself with the operations of health facilities.