25 May 2011

Zambia: 'People Need More Mobile Hospital'

SOME residents of Mpongwe District on the Copperbelt have called on the Government to consider purchasing more mobile hospitals as a way of ensuring that as many people as possible access medical services closer to their homes.

The residents who yesterday turned out in large numbers at Mfulabunga Middle Basic School, in Chief Ndubeni's area off Mpongwe-Machiya Road for medical treatment said they were grateful to the Government for introducing mobile health facilities.

Lackson Kalinji, 18, who was born with cleft-lip, a condition in which the lips are separated, said as a person living in a remote area, it had taken him more than a decade of waiting to access what he described as a life-changing operation conducted yesterday.

Mr Kalinji of Mfulabinga area, who could not hide his joy, said the mobile hospitals had transformed his life and that of others facing difficulties to undergo operations.

"Operations are being done within a few hours after fixing an appointment with the doctors, isn't this wonderful?" he said.

Lackson Kanshimba, 48, of Chishe Village in Chief Ndubeni's area who underwent an operation after suffering from hernia, a condition where he developed an opening in the abdominal wall, said people condemning mobile hospitals were ignorant about the number of people who were having difficulties to access health services.

"I have lived with this life-threatening condition for more than two years and last February I did a special examination at Mpongwe Mission Hospital and they advised me to mobilise enough resources which would see me undergo an operation at UTH (University Teaching Hospital) in Lusaka but today it has just taken me a few hours of waiting here.

"I was taken to the theatre where an operation was done in a few hours after being examined," Mr Kanshimba said.

Elinat Chalenga, 59, of Minsongwe area, advised Zambians to spare some time and see what goes on at the mobile hospitals.

"We are asking the health authorities to increase the number of days from one week to two weeks in one district so that as many people as possible access free medical services," she said.

Lonica Chipanama, 67, who said she suddenly became partially blind in one eye, said she was happy that she was examined and given treatment by an eye doctor without making an appointment.

Nason Mulupulo,73, who suffers from a condition known as lipoma and arthritis of legs, said those receiving treatment at the mobile hospitals were the best people to judge whether the facilities were a waste of resources by the Government or not.

Copperbelt Province mobile hospitals services coordinator Alex Makupe said more than 300 patients had received treatment from the mobile hospital by yesterday, a day after the facility was set up on Monday afternoon.

The mobile hospital comprised an examination room, operating theatre for different conditions, a dental section, ear-nose-throat treatment bay, laboratory facility, and x-ray unit.

Dr Mukape said more than 1,000 patient were expected to receive treatment after the five-day service provision in Mpongwe District before moving to another district within the province.

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