President Edgar Lungu has struck a balance on steering the wheels of the economy while abetting a public health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya has disclosed.
Dr Chilufya said on Monday when he conducted an impromptu visit on Mtendere level 2 mission hospital in Chirundu District which he declared fit to conduct COVID-19 tests that the President encouraged a delicate balance between trade and abating a public health catastrophe.
He added that soon COVID-19 testing labs will be put in place in all ports of entry.
“The multisectoral response that you are seeing here is in line with President Lungu’s guidance in the CIVID-19 response enhance surveillance, early detection, easy management of the pandemic and any health issues,” he said.
“Cross Border collaboration is a very critical component in pandemic control, in his aspiration for a good driving economy his excellency President Lungu has encouraged that balance between trade and abating a public health catastrophe, so what we are seeing at the border is enhanced surveillance to ensure that lives are protected in Zambia, to ensure that we are able to spot cases early isolate and manage them to avoid transmission or escalation of COVID-19.”
The minister added that he was impressed to see coordinated efforts in dealing with the pandemic at the port of entry.
“Am very impressed with the work that is happening here and all we are doing is to urge them all and give them further support in enhancing surveillance, people movements will always fuel an epidemic so we need to manage people movements to support that balance between enhancing trade and commerce and also abate a health crisis,” he said.
He said Mtendere hospital was the anchor of health services on Chirundu one stop border post because it accommodated locals as well as those in transit from various destinations.
“Chirundu is a busy transit point, the anchor of health services here is mtendere mission hospital, so that collaborative effort again has been seen and it will be enhanced because now Mtendere will have its own testing facilities, and now that it has been upgraded to a second level hospital it will even have enhanced human capital and the scope of service that will be provided will be enhanced,” Dr Chilufya said.
He further assured the hospital management of a beefed-up team of surgical specialists in a few weeks’ time.