By KAUSA MBASELA
FQM Trident Limited recently handed over a district health office for Manyama with an ambulance for Kalumbila all valued at more than K2 million.
More than K1 million was contributed by the mine in the construction of the facility, with other contributors accounting for close to K400,000 to help complete the structure which has 13 offices, one conference room, a store room and a registry.
The ambulance was secured at the cost of K780,000 and comprehensively insured.
The cost of labour was negotiated through the District Health Management Team (DHMT), ensuring that the project was not realized at commercial rates.
Company General Manager Junior Keyser said the facilities would enhance health care provision in Manyama catchment area.
“You may wonder why we supported the construction of a District Health Office outside our catchment area. We understand our mandate boundary and respect the fact that provision of public services and infrastructure is Government mandate. However, this project is motivated by a need that was presented by the District Health Management Team and the justification was that the office shall support the entire district,” he observed.
FQM Trident worked with other companies and members of the community in the construction of the district health administrative office.
Keyser explained that from inception of FQM Trident’s activities in the district, the mine had worked closely with the DHMT in supporting health care system enhancement, health infrastructure, water, hygiene and sanitation and, epidemic and pandemic preparedness and response.
“Through collaboration and as part of our corporate social investment, we have been supporting malaria management by providing logistics for spraying houses within our catchment area every year since 2011. This is another successful programme that is jointly implemented with the District Health Management Team,” he revealed.
At the time of the request, the DHMT was renting a room at a guest house and the tenancy agreement was expiring that same month.
The initiative fell under FQM Trident’s corporate social commitment to support communities in areas of business interest, which supports agriculture, education, wildlife conservation, local business development and the recently introduced behaviour change campaign programmes such as Gender Based Violence Campaign and civic awareness.
The company supported the initiative because of public benefit and enhancement of health care services in the district and the catchment area.
North-Western Province Permanent Secretary Gladson Katambi expressed Government appreciation for the services the mine continues to render to the province through various programmes and projects.
As the province was grappling with many health challenges, such collaborative gestures went a long way in helping Government achieve the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal Number Three, that of ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing at all ages—is essential for sustainable development.
“Government is committed to improving the health of its citizens that is why Constituency Development Fund (CDF) has been increased to more than K28 million from just over K25 million with a call for every constituency to buy an ambulance. This emphasizes the importance Government places on ensuring that people have quality health care services delivered close to home.
“President Hakainde Hichilema has directed that every health centre should have electricity, running water and, functional maternity ward. This is grassroots development that will spur national development in the long run and must not only be supported but protected by all stakeholders especially the locals who are the targeted beneficiaries.”
District Commissioner Brenda Sankisa expressed gratitude that the mine had offered a helping hand to aid Government efforts to improve service delivery in the health sector by donating an ambulance. Government wanted every constituency to acquire an ambulance.
Trident Foundation Manager Joseph Ngwira disclosed that the ambulance, purchased last year, was requested for by the community in 2017. The previous ambulance, donated by a different organization was not properly maintained.
“Management considers all the community’s needs and requests that fall under the corporate social investment scope. The donation of the ambulance is a goodwill gesture which should be used for the intended purpose—healthcare service delivery.”
Ngwira reveals that the Nissan Patrol ambulance was purchased for K780,000 and haD been comprehensively insured.
In his vote of thanks, Kalumbila District Health Director Dr Itulawami Isonga thanked FQM, through the Trident Foundation for the continued support towards quality health services delivery in the district.
Noting that Kalumbila district was vast with 56 health facilities that are distantly apart with the furthest being 158km away from the District Health Office Dr Isonga noted that the situation had posed serious challenges in supervision and operation of ambulance services.
Sub-Chief Mbambu, representing Senior Chief Musele, noted that it had been difficult for patients to access quality health care services because of the long distances to some of the health posts. That difficulty would be mitigated by the availability of an ambulance in some areas.
“The nearest ambulances were either from Solwezi or Chingola. This elevates our standard and improves chances of quick access to health services for a lot of the people within the district.”