Back in Zambia
Last Monday was the start of Swecare’s second business delegation to Zambia, this time headed by Sweden’s Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Mr. Göran Hägglund. Participating in the trip were 10 companies and various experts from government agencies and institutions, as well as a Swecare crew including our chairwoman Chris Heister. The delegation started in Zambia for a follow-up on the delegation in February, and then went on to Uganda.
The programme started on Monday morning, at record speed, with the II Sweden-Zambia Health Cooperation Conference: Tackling the Double Burden of Communicable and Non-Communicable Disease. Approximately 170 persons participated in the conference which was moderated by Dr. Mannasseh Phiri. Sweden’s Ambassador Ms. Lena Nordström and Minister Hägglund gave introductory remarks and the First Lady, H.E. Dr Christine Kaseba, spoke on the relations between Zambia and Sweden, the importance of the private sector and the plans that Zambia has to introduce a general health insurance. The key note speech was given by listened to Prof. Markus Maeurer from Karolinska Institutet, on communicable and non-communicable diseases and how they are interlinked. We don’t treat a disease but a human being, thus a holistic view is needed, looking at all determinants of diseases.
[caption id="attachment_12640" align="aligncenter" width="540"] First lady opens the conference[/caption]
During the rest of the conference we listened to presentations by Swedish experts, experts from the Zambian side. Our Swedish companies also presented their solutions to the challenges in their areas of speciality and there was some time for questions and answers. Before leaving, the First Lady had a VIP tour of the exposition, and the Expo was also open for the audience during coffee break and lunch.
The first session dealt with non-communicable diseases with a special focus on cancer (Roger Henriksson from the Regional Cancer Center Stockholm and Gotland, Dr. Kennedy Lishimpi from Cancer Diseases Hospital Lusaka and the companies Elekta, Gynius and AstraZeneca). The next topic was communicable diseases with presentations from Dr. Sarah Wamala, the Swedish National Institute of Public Health, Dr. Christine Tambatamba from the Ministry of Community Development and Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH) and representatives from Hemocue, Bactiguard and Indevelop. Last was a session on innovation in health care, introduced by Anders Printz on enabling environments, then Maquet, DD Innovation, MedCardApps and Helseplan. It was then time for the moderator, Dr. Phiri, to wrap up and invite everyone for lunch and mingling in the expo area.
[caption id="attachment_12647" align="aligncenter" width="540"] Conference audience[/caption]
After lunch, the delegation was off to the Ministry of Health close by. We were received by the Minister for Health, Dr. Joseph Kasonde, the Permanent Secretary for Health, and several directors from the Ministry. The Minister mentioned some policy priority areas, such as the realignment of MoH and MCDMCH, financial management in the health system, dealing with emergencies especially trauma and PPP as a convincing way forward. Göran Hägglund talked about the long-standing relationship between Sweden and Zambia, and the companies presented their various solutions. The meeting was ended with Q&A and an invitation by Minister Hägglund to his Zambian colleague to visit Sweden.
[caption id="attachment_12649" align="aligncenter" width="540"] Minister for Health Dr. Kasonde and visitors[/caption]
We also had a meeting with MCDMCH and listened to the Minister, Dr. Joseph Katema and were given an overview of the Ministry’s Strategic Plan 2013-2016 by Permanent Secretary Dr. Elwyn Choma. The goal is to reduce extreme poverty and the high disease burden by 50% by the end of the period. Among the focus areas are reproductive health services, preventive and curative health services, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of facilities, human resource management as well as financial, administrative and logistical support services.
[caption id="attachment_12651" align="aligncenter" width="540"] High table at Ministry for Community Development and Mother and Child Health[/caption]
Tuesday started early, with departure at 7 AM to Kafue, 45 km south of Lusaka. The first stop was at Kafue District Hospital, with a catchment area of 250 000 persons and a capacity of 98 beds. The Minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health was our host. Next we visited Nangongwe Health Centre. Apart from listening to the Head nurse and going for a tour of the clinic, we also experienced a vibrant Zambian dance and drum show.
[caption id="attachment_12658" align="aligncenter" width="540"] Typical Zambian drum and dance show[/caption]
The bus headed back to Lusaka and the group split in two; one smaller group went to the Cancer Diseases Hospital and held fruitful discussions with Dr. Lishimpi and his team; the rest of us visited Lusaka Trust Hospital. We were received by Dr. Margaret Siwale and some of her staff, had a good exchange of information including their expansion plans, and toured both wings of the 35-bed hospital (5500 outpatients and 300 inpatients per month).
[caption id="attachment_12659" align="aligncenter" width="540"] Elekta showing the stereotactic instrument[/caption]
The last meeting of the day was at Zambia’s national referral hospital, University Teaching Hospital, where we first divided in four groups according to interest areas, and toured the premises. The visit finished with a meeting with the whole group, Dr. Kasonka and several member of his team. We learnt a lot about each other, and the Zambians showed great interest in the companies’ solutions, such as Elekta’s stereotactic equipment. Several meetings were set up between the companies and contact persons at the hospital.This activity-packed day ended with a reception at the Ambassador’s Residence. All conference participants were invited as well as some specially selected guests, among which was the Honourable Minister for Trade Emmanuel Chenda.
While part of the delegation left Zambia for Uganda early on Wednesday morning, the business part of the delegation had an interesting and informative meeting with some of the mining companies in Zambia, namely Mopani Cooper Mines, Barrick Lumwana Mining Company and First Quantum Minerals. The three companies do a lot for the health of their workers and dependants, as well as the community at large, albeit in different ways. Several areas of potential cooperation with the Swedish companies came up, e.g. within diagnositics and m-health solutions, which will be followed up on both sides. After the meeting concluded, the bus took us to the airport and the flight to Uganda. In all we had more than two days filled with information, meetings, old and new contacts and new ideas for cooperation. Among the more concrete results is a signed MoU between Helseplan and MoH for an exchange programme of emergency personnel.
[caption id="attachment_12652" align="aligncenter" width="540"] Patient at Kafue District Hospital[/caption]