The Health Professions Council of Zambia- HPCZ closed down five (5) health facilities in Luanshya, Kitwe and Ndola on the Copperbelt Province on independence day for various violations. This was communicated in a media statement seen by the Zambian Business Times – ZBT dated 24th October, 2018, Zambia’s Independence Day, by HPCZ registrar Aaron Mujajati.
The facilities closed included Kitwe’s Sinozam Friendship Hospital and Copperbelt University – CBU Clinic. Others health institutions closed were the Section 5 Mine Clinic, Baluba Shaft Mine Clinic both located in Luanshya and Hilltop Hospital located in Ndola. The closures followed inspections by HPCZ officers on the Copperbelt Province.
However, the closure announcement timing and dating of the announcement which has raised questions and has been sited as a further blow to the recognition of the importance and observation of a national day. The significance of 24th October is fast becoming a day only recognized by political and government officials due to lost engagement of the general citizenry.
Some of the reasons proffered by HPCZ that led to the closure were the stocking and dispensing expired drugs and medical by for instance Section 5 Mine Clinic in Luanshya. This clinic was also found to be operating under poor state of infrastructure and equipment as well as lack of clinical supervision.
For Baluba Shaft Mine Clinic, the health centre was also found to be stocking and dispensing expired drugs and medical supplies, and also that the facility had poor storage of medicines including mixing food items with medicines in a fridge.
Both the CBU and Sinozam Clinic were also stocking, using and dispensing various expired medical supplies and drugs. Sinozam further was found to have been offering unlicensed ambulance services, unaccredited Anti-retro Viral Treatment (ART) services while Ndola’s Hilltop Hospital’s major violation was a similar trend of stocking and dispensing expired drugs and medical supplies.
This shocking revelation perhaps justified the sending of a clear message that despite attaining I dependence 54 years ago, Zambians are still subjected to what others have referred to as colonial treatment. Imagine the effect of expired drugs, unlicensed ARV’s. A health institution lacking clinical supervision at this time and age should not only end with closing down the institution but also prosecution of the responsible parties and officers.
The issue of impunity in Zambia were leadership positions are only viewed in terms of a ladder to higher perks should come to an end. Leadership positions in not only health centres but across society should be followed up with higher levels of responsibility and accountability.
An example should start being set by not only closing down institutions with leaders who return with the after some pressure to correct what they ought to have corrected in the first place, there should be sacking of failed leaders so that leadership positions are left for the most talented and responsible members of the Zambian society to take up.