CONSTRUCTION of the K6.18 million (US$600,000) Nkana Hospital has been completed thanks to funding by Kagem Mining, the world’s single largest producing emerald mine.
Local people now have access to modern facilities in their community, avoiding the need to travel lengthy distances to seek medical attention in Kalulushi.
Work on the new health facility was completed last week, when the mine signed the certificate of completion with the contractor at a small ceremony witnessed by the Kagem officials, outgoing Lufwanyama Mayor Mr Kennedy Chipoya, hospital staff and members of the local community before handing over the keys to the said Registered Nurse and Acting Health Centre Officer in Charge Martin Kashila.
The Lufwanyama District Health Office (DHO) hospital is set to cater for the population of Nkana and beyond and immediately began accepting patients ahead of the official VIP opening scheduled for June 10.
It comes in the wake of the challenges facing the local community in Lufwanyama in accessing healthcare and is set to step up the delivery of health services.
After much consideration and stakeholder consultation, Kagem moved to construct the modern hospital for the community at Nkana in response to the identified needs,” said Kagem Corporate and Social Sustainability Manager Mwaka Mulenga.
Nkana Hospital is part of Kagem’s and Gemfields wider efforts in pioneering responsible mining in the gemstone mining sector. The mine’s approach to community development projects is aimed at ensuring maximum impact through a long term sustainable strategy tailored to the needs of the local people while working hand-in-hand with community leaders, central local government, non-governmental organizations and local residents.
Patients were previously referred to the nearest hospital which is as far as 52 kilometres away and in certain instances turned back as they were not from that particular catchment area. The distance rendered it both physically and financially strenuous for the patients. With the new facilities, only severe cases now need be referred to the district hospital.
The new hospital caters to both in and out patients and houses male ward; an isolation ward; a paediatric wing; a maternity wing complete with a delivery room, postnatal ward and an incubator room for pre-mature babies. Kagem has further to furnished it with the necessary equipment including hospital beds, resuscitation machines, oxygen machines and other amenities such as geysers, air-conditions and showers for the comfort of the patients.
“Looking at the facility which has been built, it will attract a lot of people…and on the drugs, they – District Health Office – are actually increasing them to carter for the excess community that we are actually receiving from the surrounding areas,” added Mr Kashila.
Plans to increase medical staff at the clinic are underway with the District Medical Office ensuring that the newly finished staff housing complex, also commissioned by Kagem, are fully occupied. More staff will enable the hospital operate on a 24 hour basis with time thus ensuring patients get the medical help they need at whatever time they need it as well as allow for continuity of care.
“Good health is a very vital component in the wellbeing of a community. This hospital will not only provide medical services to the people of Lufwanyama but in doing so also contribute to a healthier lifestyle through various programmes and enhance the livelihood of the community. As Kagem we’ve been privileged to have the support of the Chiefdom, the community itself and other relevant stakeholders to bring this to pass,” said Mrs Mulenga.