The government has said that it is working hurriedly to increase the supply of oxygen in health facilities to address the high demand for the commodity in the wake of a surge of COVID-19 pandemic in its second wave.
Health Minister Dr. Jonas Chanda has explained that the government is intensifying the supply of the commodity which over 70% of COVID-19 patients desperately need in the management of the virus.
Speaking when he gave a ministerial statement to parliament this afternoon, Dr. Chanda said that as of yesterday, oxygen cylinders have been transported to the Copperbelt which has now become the new epicenter.
He said with further support from cooperating partners, Zambia is ensuring that more oxygen is supplied to as many health facilities as possible apart from working on modalities to prepare adequately for eventualities such as the third wage.
“Zambia can cut the transmission rate by over 80% of all health guidelines are adhered to” he said and called for personal responsibility in the prevention of new infections which is key in pandemic control.
And Dr. Chanda reiterated that Zambia will not have its economy locked down because the economy still needs to run even in the midst of the pandemic and emphasized that the pandemic is not only a healthy but also a socioeconomic issue.
“For how long can you lock down a country. What if the pandemic takes ten years, can you have the country locked down for ten years?” Dr Chanda questioned and emphasized the need to emulate other countries such as Japan that have managed the pandemic without necessarily locking down their economies.
He assured, however, that with strict adherence to the set health guidelines, the country will overcome the pandemic which is not peculiar to Zambia alone but has posed global health challenges and overwhelmed even the most developed countries whose health systems are comparatively stronger.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chanda said measures are being put in place to restore confidence in the country’s health sector and assured that necessary measures are also being implemented to safeguard citizen’s interests by providing quality and efficacious health services through the provision of quality medicines.
Concerning the much talked about COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Chanda told parliament that the vaccine will not be given to the public before tabling the matter before cabinet and without it meeting the required health standards.