The University of Zambia through the School of Nursing Sciences has handed over an assortment of health equipment to the Ministry of Health and the Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya has thanked UNZA for the donation, which he said will go a long way in improving maternal and child health.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister by the Permanent Secretary-Administration Ms Kakulubelwa Mulalelo, the Minister said the government was delighted to receive health equipment for selected health facilities where the multi-centre study on factors associated with high perinatal morbidity and mortality was conducted. “I’m reliably informed that the multi-centre study is administered by a consortium of two northern partner universities i.e. the Arctic University of Norway and the University of Oslo and the three Southern Universities i.e University of Malawi, Kamuzu College of Nursing, University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences and the University of Zambia through the School of Nursing Sciences,” he said. The Minister said the government under the stewardship of His Excellency the President Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has prioritized health and was committed to the attainment of the Vision 2030 of making Zambia a nation of healthy and productive people.
“This vision cannot be attained by government alone hence the emphasis of government on recognizing and encouraging Public-Private Partnership with our stakeholders in the health sector. UNZA has demonstrated this partnership with the government.
You will appreciate that delivery of quality health services requires corresponding quality health infrastructure and the provision of equipment. Under the legacy goals of putting up infrastructure and equipment in the health facilities, the government is on the drive to improve health facilities across the country through the building of new health facilities as well as maintaining of the existing one and adequately equipping them,” he said.
Dr Chilufya said the sector remains committed to the realization of the health and wealthy nation through human capital development. “Again, I am delighted to learn that the project includes human resources development where the following have been undertaken: Development of the three curricula of Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Midwifery. Support of 4 masters student who have since graduated from UNZA, PhD student 3 from UNZA and 2 from Lusaka School of Nursing and Midwifery that are due to complete at the end of this year,” he said. He said the health personal who have trained through this programme will add to the body of knowledge and subsequently provide an evidence-based practice during the provision of midwifery services.
“Government is in an urgent need to reduce maternal mortality ratio and one of the interventions it has embarked on is the commencement of midwifery training in all public institutions throughout the country. The Minister revealed that the General Nursing Council of Zambia has already approved five colleges to commence midwifery training and that his will go a long way for women and children to access quality maternal and child health services. “The equipment being donated today shall support the efforts to improve quality maternal and child services through the institutions that shall benefit. On behalf of the government allow me to take this opportunity to ensure and to urge that we observe the basic principles of equipment maintenance in making sure that cleanliness of the equipment is maintained for service provision and equipment sustenance.
“I wish to convey the government’s gratitude to the Norwegian Government for technical and financial support that is being rendered. The equipment that I am receiving today on behalf of the sector shall enable the midwifery to carry out procedures and improve the quality of midwifery care,” he said.
And UNZA Vice-Chancellor Prof Luke Mumba has commended the School of Nursing Sciences for its continued strides towards improving healthcare in the country. Prof Mumba said in the few years of its operations, the school has positioned itself to be able to offer the Bachelors of Sciences, Master of Sciences and PhD level training in nursing and midwifery in Zambia. “This is in line with our endeavour as a university to promote excellence in the three pillars of the university namely Teaching and Learning, Research and Publication, and Community service/community engagement.
Prof Mumba said in building on the three pillars, the School of Nursing Sciences has established a number of collaborations, both in the sub-region and internationally. “What we are to witness today, is the outcome of beneficial partnerships,” he said.
He said through the project, a number of activities were being undertaken and these include:
- Establishment of the BSc midwifery programme;
- Establishment of MSc midwifery and women’s health programme;
- Establishment of the PhD in midwifery- with scholarships for 5 PhD candidates;
- Small grants awarded to faculty from school of nursing, medicine and public health;
- The multicentre study, the project through which the equipment is being donated.
with regards to the multicentre study, Prof Mumba said the study was being undertaken in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. “In Zambia, a baseline survey on “factors associated with high perinatal morbidity and mortality was undertaken in Lusaka district (to be specific - Kanyama first-level hospital and Ng’ombe Health Centre). Similar data was collected at Mumbwa District Hospital and Nangoma Mission Hospital
He said based on the findings of the study, gaps in maternal and neonatal health were identified, shared with the concerned health facilities and the consensus was built on what needed to be done in terms of materials and supplies and actual care. “It is for this reason that today we are handing over equipment for maternal and neonatal care. the equipment worth more than k220,000.00,” he said.
Prof Mumba said the equipment was expected to be used to improve health care delivery in the identified facilities and that it will be used during the project intervention period that will run for three (3) months from the time of commencement once the equipment has been handed over.
“Honourable Minister, please take note that both during and after the intervention, the equipment will belong to the Ministry of Health. The University of Zambia staff will participate during the intervention period after which they will conduct a post-intervention survey as a means to evaluate the impact of the project,” he said.
Prof Mumba further said the challenges with infrastructure currently being faced at the School of Nursing Sciences have constrained the school from increasing enrolments and ultimately expanding the number of graduates. He further appealed to the cooperating partners to support the school with regards to infrastructure development.
“To the four (4) health facilities that will receive the equipment, we urge you to use it to the benefit of all our citizens who will seek health services from your institutions. Let us all work together to ensure that no mother dies while giving life,” he said.
Meanwhile, Principal Investigator Prof Margret Maimbolwa revealed that the Norwegian Higher Education Development (NORHED) project had a duration of 5 years from 2013-2018 with an overall aim of developing a Novel Nursing and Midwifery graduate and postgraduate training programme in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In a vote of thanks, Provincial Health Director Dr Consity Mwale thanked UNZA and the cooperating partners for the gesture and pledged to put the equipment