The Resident Doctors Association of Zambia (RDAZ) says the cholera outbreak has once again revealed the gaps in the policies and preparedness of the country’s health response system.
RDAZ president, Dr. Mweushi Mphande, cited the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIMA) as one unsustainable system that was failing to adequately cater for the population as it was originally meant.
Mphande said this when the Association came to the aid of Chainda Urban Health Center in Lusaka on Saturday by donating assorted items ranging from chlorine, gloves, cleaning chemicals and tools among others.
He noted that this was mainly because the formally employed population of below three million people can not finance health care for themselves and the rest of the other 19 million plus Zambians.
“Therefore we humbly suggest to NHIMA and all key stakeholders to look into broadening the contribution basket by diversifying from taxing the formally employed to making NHIMA a portion of Value Added Tax(VAT),” Mphande proposed.
RDAZ president stated that this would allow any Zambian who was spending money at the same time to pay for their healthcare services.
He noted that this would increase the financing of the health care basket by a great margin and enable all Zambians to access the NHIMA services all the time.
Mphande also called for the phased removal of pit-latrines in the country which are a major contributing source of cholera outbreaks in urban and peri areas.
“It is not a secret that poor waste management, poor water sanitation, as well as poor city planning are major contributors to cholera year in year out,” he stated.
The RDAZ president further called for the revision of city planning, better drainage and sewer systems and well protected designated dumping sites.
Mphande also noted the need for government and stakeholders to institute an independent multi disciplinary cholera elimination unit that would work all year round towards preventing the outbreak.
Earlier, the Chainda Urban Health Center facility in-Charge, Bridget Mwape, said the donated items would not only complement the existing resources but also help to meet the diverse needs.
“At Chainda Urban Health Center, we strive to create a warm and welcoming environment that promotes healing and recovery,” Mwale emphasized.
She revealed that currently, the center had three patients admitted at the cholera section and that their condition was stable.
Chainda Ward area Councilor, Patrick Nsama Mpundu, thanked the association for its gesture and encouraged others to come on board and not leave the fight against the outbreak to the government alone.
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