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Mobile Hospitals: Ministry of Health Out of It’s Mind – May 04,2009

Last updated on February 18, 2012

The Idea$0$0$0$0$0Just when you sit back in your rocking chair thinking and hoping against hope that sanity may come to government, something else out of whack crops up. This time around we are talking about the new US$53 million proposal for Mobile Hospitals. The Post are quick to point out that the idea of Mobile Hospitals in Zambia for rural areas was mooted by the “venerable” President Rupiah Banda as a way to complement the construction of 15 hospitals in 19 districts. An idea like this one is more amazing than surprising. The idea is extremely myopic and absurd in the least. These Mobile Homes are not sustainable. It’s not even surprising that the intended source of the Mobile Hospitals is China. It’s not even a question of the availability of in house capacity in the Ministry of Health to maintain these Mobile Hospitals when they finally procured, sadly, it’s about the government moving forward to construct solid long-term civil masonry structures that will stand the vagaries of time.$0$0$0$0$0$0Rural Health Infrastructure$0$0Travelling to Zambia’s countryside and rural areas to see the the available facilities is an extremely heart-wrenching and embarrassing experience when one sees first hand the deplorable state of health infrastructure. It makes one’s heart sink at the sight of the dismal quality of buildings and facilities at many rural health centers and a total sense of rural abandonment.$0$0$0$0$0In Zambia, only urban roads and main intercity or inter-town roads can be called roads, once you exit these main streets, it’s dust, craters and name it all. Some places are not reachable even by all-wheel drive vehicles. When one looks at the poor quality of unpaved roads in the rural areas, it’s a wonder how educated people can come with the idea of Mobile Hospitals in a country that has no rural infrastructure, let alone waste tax payers money to sit down and debate the issue. With an absent infrastructure, how does the Ministry of Health’s Mobile Hospitals Outreach expected to reach the rural people? It’s such a shame that the Information Minister, RonnieShikapwasha, even has the audacity to say roads will be graded to ensure that Mobile Hospitals reach the people. One cannot help but think that Government has no plans to pave rural roads and construct more and sustainable hospital infrastructure. It’s not a question of sensationalizing the issue but tax payers demand to understand the relevance of Mobile Hospitals at the time when solid and sustainable infrastructure must be provided to improve the standard of health facilities for the rural masses.$0$0$0$0$0Donor Frustration$0$0One cannot but imagine Donor frustration and their desire to withdraw funding to the Ministry of Health. Any rational being in donors shoes would obviously take similar action because the idea of Mobile Hospitals has not been carefully thought out and totally misplaced. The obvious assumption is that the rural masses would not notice anything wrong with Mobile homes because they have never seen anything better in their rural settings. But the rural masses in Zambia also deserve quality Health infrastructure and facilities obtaining in urban areas.$0$0$0$0$0Stop the Wastage of Tax Payers Money$0$0The idea for Mobile Hospitals is ill-conceived and will lead to wastage of tax payers money. As a matter of fact, the idea has all the hallmarks of someone intending to profit from whichever deal will come out of the eventual procurement of Mobile Hospitals. History has shown that rarely have Zambian politicians made decisions with the poor as the intended genuine beneficiaries. But who stands to make personal gain from the proposal? Fifty three million dollars is such a huge amount of money, for Zambian standards, that Zambians must not allow the Government to waste on cheap and transitory Mobile Hospital structures. The idea must be rescinded and all the discussions on the proposed plan to import Mobile Hospitals from China must stop with immediate effect. It is important for the leadership to start planning and constructing infrastructure that will stand the test of time.$0$0$0$0$0$0

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