Saturday, August 07, 2010

Chingola clergyman challenges Rupiah over mobile hospitals

Chingola clergyman challenges Rupiah over mobile hospitals
By Misheck Wangwe and Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Sat 07 Aug. 2010, 03:59 CAT

CHINGOLA’s Twelve Apostles Nchanga Parish priest Fr Charles Tembo has challenged President Rupiah Banda and the government ministers for once to listen to the voice of the poor over its intentions to bring mobile hospitals in Zambia.

And UPND Copperbelt Province vice-youth chairman Kelly Jibinga has described as foolish the government’s decision to borrow US $53 million from China to procure mobile hospitals.

In an interview on Wednesday, Fr Tembo said it was disappointing that the government wanted to force a foreign concept on the people when it was clear that the mobile hospitals would not suit the Zambian situation.

Fr Tembo said the majority poor in Zambia wanted the government to build permanent infrastructure and work on the already existing but dilapidated hospitals.

He said it would be illogical for the government to introduce mobile hospitals in Zambia when it had failed to work on roads in rural areas.

“It is very disappointing to see how government has remained adamant that it will bring mobile hospitals when the situation can speak for itself that they will just waste taxpayers’ money,” Fr Tembo said.

“The roads are bad, I worked in Lufwanyama for years and the road that leads to that area is in a bad state; many patients have died on the way when they are referred to Kitwe to seek medical attention due to a bad road. Abantu babomfya utushila twatondo people use footpaths to get to St Mary’s hospital.

“Which roads now are these mobile hospitals going to ride on? Government should not take people’s lives for granted. Let them for once do a right thing for the poor please. These people yearn for a hospital that would be theirs forever and not a hospital when they wake up in the morning they find it’s gone,” Fr Tembo said.

He further observed that the mobile hospitals would also be very costly and demanding because they would require a lot of human labour such as the mechanics to accompany the medical personnel in case of a breakdown and many other challenges.

“When I was in Lufwanyama there was a time when a pregnant mother we were referring to Kitwe Central Hospital from St. Mary’s Mission almost gave birth on the way due to the dilapidated road and these incidences have continued. People are suffering, we want government to identify issues that directly affect the people and work towards restoring human dignity because whether poor or rich we are equal in the eyes of God,” Fr Tembo said.

Fr Tembo said the government must look at issues such as the shortage of medical personnel in rural health centres as opposed to concentrating on futile programmes such as the purchase of mobile hospitals.

And Jibinga in a statement said it was disappointing for President Rupiah Banda to tell Zambians that it was none of their business that he signed a US$53 million concession loan to buy mobile hospitals because neither President Banda nor his sons would repay the loan.

Jibinga said it was even more annoying for the youths that President Banda would not be there when they would be made to pay back the loan.

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