President Hakainde Hichilema has called on the Zambia Medical Association to ensure that quality standards are maintained by all practicing doctors.
President Hichilema said the polarisation of medical training institutions has compromised the quality of doctors being produced, an issue the association must urgently address.
Speaking when he officially opened the 59th Zambia Medical Association conference and annual General meeting in Livingstone, President Hichilema said ignoring the quality of doctors we have in health facilities is a risk to the wellbeing of the citizenry.
President Hichilema has however assured health practitioners that the Government values the significant role they play in providing health services and reaffirmed Government commitment to supporting the profession.
“Government has demonstrated its commitment to the health sector by increasing the budgetary allocation to health amidst budgetary constraints,” the President said.
President Hichilema said the government had prioritized the rebuilding of the economy to be able to build capacity in providing the requirements of the health sector.
The Head of State said now that the debt restructuring has been sealed, the Government is committed to increasing support to the health sector.
Mr Hichilema also reiterated Government commitment to improving infrastructure in the health sector through the Constituency development fund.
He said through CDF each health facility must have a maternity annex with running water to enhance maternal care.
The President has however expressed concern over the high prices at which institutions mandated to procure medical drugs are buying the drugs for the country.
“Various entities tasked to procure drugs on behalf of citizens are sitting on fair government deals in the procurement process which has seen some procurement officers connive with suppliers a matter Government is keenly addressing,” he said.
President Hichilema said the Government is committed to investing in the health sector but needs must be prioritized.
He said investment in digital health systems are key if the country’s health system is to be more efficient.
And Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo said there is great need to address the human resource challenges in the health sector.
Ms. Masebo said over 39 health facilities across the country have been completed and awaiting commissioning but lack of health workers to run the facilities remains a hindrance.
She acknowledged the recruitment of over 11,000 health workers but that the gap is still huge.
Meanwhile Zambia Medical Association President Crispin Moyo has commended Government for the supply of medical kits to health centres a development he said was unprecedented.
Dr. Moyo has however called for the review of the composition of the health centre kits to ensure that kits have the right drugs to meet the needs of the patients.
He also emphasized the need to decentralize the procurement of drugs to ensure constant supply of essential drugs in health facilities.
The ZMA President also appealed to the government to address the low employment levels of doctors.
Dr. Moyo said doctors are willing to be deployed in rural areas and provide health services to people in rural areas.
The 59th Zambia Medical Association scientific conference and annual General meeting is being held under the theme” Strengthening health systems by leveraging Digital Health to address emerging and existing”.