Over 50,000 community members in Solwezi district, North-Western Province are at risk of missing out on adequate provision of health services after First Quantum Mine cancelled out a contract with local company contracted to offer primary healthcare services in the area.
The company involved called is CHAMP, that had a running contract with FQM which was coming to an end this November but the mining giant has “abruptly terminated the contract” in unclear circumstances.
CHAMP was contracted to provide support on behalf of FQM to 15 rural health centers which are in Solwezi, Kalumbila and Mushindamo districts.
The services provided cover primary healthcare services at the 15 clinics, capacity building at the selected clinics and community engagement through the clinic.
Primary care services include patient diagnosis and treatment of patients. Other services include health education of community members on various topics including malaria and now coronavirus.
Also affected in the disruption is the provision of life saving drugs such as ARVs.
Capacity building includes refreshing clinic staff in infection prevention, basic patient examinationd and diagnosis, records management.
The team also supports the delivery from district offices to rural health centers of various materials including drugs, mosquito nets and sometimes carrying referred patients back to the district hospital.
The district Health Management in Solwezi district was not aware about this decision taken by FQM which therefore means there was no back up plan to quickly begin to service the affected communities.
When reached for a comment, FQM communications unit in a response said, CHAMP, was noticed after the termination of the contract without giving further details on the matter.
Our Team of Analysts have been informed that CHAMP, has since written to the Ministry of Health to seek ways to address the issue which has gotten the attention of high authorities in the government of Zambia.
Meanwhile First Quantum Minerals spent over K7.4 million to complement government’s multi-sectoral approach to fighting coronavirus in communities surrounding its mining operations in the Kalumbila and Solwezi districts of North-Western Province.
The mining firm has put in place contingency plans to deal with the virus by further strengthening clinical healthcare facilities and stepping up prevention awareness in the Province.
“The funding has been targeted towards activates such as building of an Intensive Care Unit and an isolation facility in the Solwezi nurses home, repairing of the water distribution networks at Solwezi General Hospital, repair of the Solwezi District Office ambulance for disease surveillance, as well as the purchase of medical equipment and personal protective equipment,” said FQM Zambia country manager General Kingsley Chinkuli.
The Speech Analyst