The revived Zambia Flying Doctors Service has launched an outreach programme dubbed ‘Restoring Rural Health’ with the aim of attending to over 100,000 patients in rural and hard to reach areas before the end of 2023.
Zambia Flying Doctors Service Chief Executive Officer Dr. George Ng’uni said the service is this week dispatching a team of doctors to Eastern, Western, Muchinga and Copperbelt Provinces to enhance health service delivery in rural and hard to reach areas.
Dr. Ng’uni said unlike in the past when the Flying Doctors Service slowed down its activities due to operational challenges – it is now able to send a team of health experts to four areas at once after beefing up the number of medical doctors and pilots.
During a media briefing in Ndola on Tuesday morning, Dr. Ng’uni told journalists that the Zambia Air Force has seconded four pilots to the service to enable it to reach more areas at once.
The reinforced team of health experts, pilots and aviation maintenance engineers is this week expected to be in Lukulu (Western), Kaumbwe (Eastern), Isoka (Muchinga) and Masaiti (Copperbelt) Districts.
Dr. Ng’uni said the re-enforcement of medical and aviation teams will be key in achieving the service’s mission of providing cost effective quality and efficient aero-medical services to remote hard to reach areas and other places countrywide.
“Earlier this year we had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) for support in terms of personnel both at pilot level as well as maintenance engineers. So we would like to announce today that ZAF has been gracious and they have sent us a total of four pilots because we have an aircraft that has been grounded since 2017, the engine was sent for overhaul in South Africa and we have received a goal ahead that the engine is ready and a team has to travel to South Africa to collect the engine so that we can have to aircrafts now flying. Two aircrafts in the air means we need to have reinforcement as far as the pilots are concerned. So the biggest question is, why do we have these aircrafts? We are here as Zambia Flying Doctor Service to ensure that we supplement the government’s effort in providing health care in the rural and hard parts to reach areas of Zambia. So with two aircrafts we will be able to send multiple teams for outreaches as well as to send our aircrafts to do medical evacuations,” Dr. Ng’uni said.
He revealed that currently the Zambia Flying Doctors Service is operating at 70 percent in terms of human resource.
“In order for us not just to depend on people calling that there is an emergency and you need to evacuate, we want to be proactive and follow our patients deep in the rural areas. So this week we have launched an operation of restoring rural health and we are sending concurrently for teams to go and do outreaches, one in Western Province, one in Eastern Province, one in Muchinga Province and one in the rural part of the Copperbelt. We are targeting to attend to three thousand rural dwellers on a monthly basis and over 100 thousand by the end of the year. Right now with the additions that we have, we are closer to the idle situation but I can tell you that we may be at 70 percent capacity, so we still require more people to be employed but obviously there are budget constraints that are why we have now gone the route of the MOU’s to cushion on our costs,” Dr. Ng’uni said.
The Zambia Flying Doctor Service is a grant-aided service delivery statutory board under the Ministry of Health.
It was created under an Act of Parliament No 37 of 1967 with amendment No 18 of 1972 and repealed by act No 25 of 1975 Chapter 298 of the Laws of Zambia.
Indeed the ZFDS seems to be on top of things lately. Just the other week I met a team in outlying areas of Lufwanyama. This is commendable. But please consider to enhance the security of officers especially in Kaumbwa and other such areas. You know what I mean especially with the unreported incident last time. Some areas are still risky. Otherwise continue with these good works and I hope the mobile units will also be revived
Commendable development. Indeed it is leave No one behind. The team led by the Board Chair Dr Rosemary Kumwenda is up and running. She is the right staff to lead this revival. Viva
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