Outstanding 247 rural health posts to be completed in 18 months

One of the completed rural health post.

Ministry of Health – MoH permanent secretary Dr Kennedy Malama has said that the outstanding 247 out of the 650 rural health posts project has never come closer to completion as to were it is now .

“As you are aware, we had a lot of challenges after termination of one of the contracts between Angelique International Limited and the Zambia Government for construction of 247 health posts in the Northern, Luapula, Muchinga and North-Western provinces.

The termination of this contract was a on recommendation of the government of India. And we have agreed with them to refinance the project through the Export Import Bank of India (EXIM) by expanding the loan amount by a further US$ 12million,” he said.

Dr. Malama further explained that the contract was re-signed last month to ensure the remaining health posts of the 650 package are completed across the country within 18 months at a total cost of US$50 million line of credit from the government of India.

“For some provinces the 650 project is quiet advanced for some typically Northern, Luapula, Muchinga and North-Western. We seem to have lacked behind a lot and we are happy that the contractors have agreed and they will start the works soon”.

“We have done what is needed to unlock the project and you look at our budget for next year we have also provided something just to ensure we do not face any bottlenecks when it comes to completion of the 650 projects,” he narrated.

The permanent secretary added that they has been an increment in some budget lines like primary healthcare having K303 million in 2018 to K379 million for 2019. And K172 million from K155 million in 2018 for general and tertiary hospitals.

“But it has been mentioned on drugs that we suffered a reduction from K1.2 billion to K900 million. That’s why in our submission we said we are looking forward to remain at K1.2 billion for drugs were we are for this year”.

“But otherwise to say were would we reshuffle, we have tried to look at the whole budget. What we can say at this point is that, it is difficult to shuffle in a big way from one budget line because those we have protected are actually the service delivery budget line,” Dr. Malama.

On the Abuja target, Dr. Malama disclosed that the government and the ministry of health are part of the global and continental commitment.

“So the Abuja declaration put the commitment that out of the national budget all the countries should strive to ensure that 15% goes to the health sector. So we use that as a comparison, when you look at the percentage of course we have not increased significantly but of course in terms of absolute amount like for this year we have a total of K6 billion for health sector in 2019”.

“When you look at the absolute amount in Kwacha there is an increase, but when you compute with the Abuja target that’s a 9.3% compared to 15%,” he stated.