Sunday, December 9, 2012
Government should bail out Kalingalinga and Chilanga Hospices whose operations are on the verge of collapse due to lack of financial support, says NGOCC chairperson Beatrice Grillo.
And Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) national coordinator Leonard Chiti has appealed to the First lady Christine Kaseba to donate the K1.5 billion allocated to her office for the rejuvenation of the two hospices for the betterment of the vulnerable in Zambia.
Ms Grillo said the two health institutions were priority areas that have contributed to the well being of the people especially the vulnerable who could not afford expensive healthcare in private hospitals.
She said it was unfortunate that government was not concerned over the events at the Church run hospices, leading to their closure as they could not afford to implement the minimum wage for its employees.
“For them to close because they can not cope is very unfortunate, the government needs to move in to see how they can help them because the role played by these institutions is very important as it cushions the effects of illness in society,” Ms Grillo said.
She said these institutions have given tremendous assistance to families of terminally ill patients who can not afford proper care for their sick relatives.
She said instead of government planning to establish new facilities, it was important that they instead assisted in upgrading the existing facilities which would give quality healthcare service to the people of Zambia.
Ms Grillo said government should upgrade the quality of healthcare provision with appropriate equipment and adequate manpower instead of building new structures which will fail to give necessary help to the public.
“Our people go there because it is a necessity and they can’t afford the expensive healthcare in private hospitals, and while government is allocating moneys for the creation of new hospitals, they should instead take that to the improvement of the existing infrastructure which can be expanded and take in more patients,” she explained.
She said a lot of people would be affected with the purported closure but that government could introduce financial aid to private hospitals especially those run by the Church to increase their capacity in the provision of care for our people.
“Its our prayer that the hospitals don’t close, opening new hospitals without equipment would be waste of resources when we can invest that money in revamping existing structures with medicines, machinery and staff. In fact, these institutions offer better healthcare than most of these public hospitals,” she said.
And Fr Chiti said the people of Zambia were entitled to knowing why the money was being given to the first lady’s office when it could be allocated to the ailing health sector as can be seen with the closure of Kalingalinga and Chilanga hospices in Lusaka.
“The first lady should consider the health institutions especially those in need of immediate help as she goes around spending the K1.5 billion, she can donate it to the hospices and help a lot of poor people,” Fr Chiti said.
Fr Chiti was commenting on the impending closure of the two hospices which were facing financial problems including failure to implement the minimum wage for their staff.He said it was becoming a habit that first ladies build for themselves huge organisations during their tenure of office of their husbands which completely die out after their souses left State House.
“We need to understand what the money is for, it is coming from the tax payers. Why is it going to the first lady? In the interest of transparency and accountability, we should know what it is being used for,” he said.
Fr Chiti appealed to government to come to the aid of health institutions which were established for the well being of the Zambian people.