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Lubinda questions Rupiah's priorities
27 June 2011 Monday 02:59 AM Views: 2125 times
A woman receives medication at a mobile dispensary opened by President Banda — Early April 2011.

Zambians should request President Rupiah Banda to integrate his mindset and start focusing on the right priorities, says Given Lubinda.

In an interview, Lubinda, who is Kabwata PF member of parliament, questioned President Banda’s misplaced priorities such as the purchase of nine mobile hospitals which would only operate in a given area for 13 days every month.

The government recently said each mobile unit would operate at a cost of K2.4 billion.

He said if the K2.4 billion was required on a monthly basis, it meant that the country would require close to K30 billion for each mobile unit per year.

“And yet these units are only going to function for 156 days per year. And at 156 days costing K30 billion is obviously far too extravagant for a poor country like Zambia,” said Lubinda on Thursday.

“Yes, we agree that we can’t put a price to life. However, there is evidence across the whole globe that there are other efficient and reasonable ways, more effective ways of providing health facilities such as constructing physical structures such as the Chainama Hospital, Lusaka District Hospital that is going to cost a third of the running cost of a mobile unit.”

Lubinda said many health facilities could be constructed across the country just from the operating cost of one mobile hospital.

“And those would be available to people not only for 156 but 360 days. And the physical structures would also allow for the employment of more personnel unlike the mobile hospitals where only a few are catered for.

This programme of Mr Rupiah Banda is a complete scandal,” Lubinda said. “And you know when people involve themselves in programmes that cannot be sustainable you question their level of thinking and you wonder whether a person who is serious about developing the country would engage in such wasteful expenditure.”

Lubinda said President Banda was self-conceited and usually became angry when advised to handle national matters in the right manner.

“I think we ought to start requesting Mr Banda to integrate his mindset. Is his mind focused on right things? Psychologists and psychiatric doctors will attest to the fact that some people have a psychiatric problem such as mania,” he said.

Lubinda said some people in rural areas were shown celebrating at the sight of mobile units as if the provision of health services were not their right.

However, he said the Mbala residents who were recently shown on the state-owned and government-controlled Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) dancing, were not impressed with the mobile hospitals but merely practicing “don’t kubeba”.

“The fact that they were shown dancing shows people who went there were not sick because sick people don’t dance,” said Lubinda.

Recently, Parliament heard that the mobile hospitals would only move for 13 days each month.

Health minister Kapembwa Simbao said according to the budget estimates for the given period, each province would require about K2.4 billion for the successful use of the procured mobile hospital units.

Simbao said the budget for the use of mobile units for the period April to December 2011 was based on thirteen days only in any month.

“It ought to be considered that the remaining days shall be reserved for the servicing of the units. The budget estimates for the given period is that each province shall require about K2.4 billion for the successful use of the procured units,” Simbao said.

Simbao said an “estimated 8.7 million Zambians” were “expected to benefit” from health services offered through mobile clinics.

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