First Quantum Minerals has handed over the renovated Solwezi College of Nursing and Midwifery hostels and has also donated bunker beds and mattresses to Solwezi General Hospital.
The facility was renovated at a total cost of K876,000. This includes 56 bunk beds and 112 mattresses.
Solwezi College of nursing and midwifery was commissioned in 1988 with the vision to provide quality nursing education to the student nurses selected to train at the institution.
The institution was given the status of registered nursing by the nursing and midwifery council of Zambia in July 2013 and allowed to train registered e-learning nursing students in 2015. In 2017 the midwifery in-service program was introduced while the direct midwifery program commenced in July 2018.
“The government of the Republic of Zambia is committed to supporting the health sector to ensure the availability of a well-trained, competent, and equitably distributed health workforce. This has been demonstrated by the investments made in the recruitment of new staff while strengthening nursing and midwifery education and practice and embracing strategic partnerships with the community, local and international stakeholders,” said North-Western Province Permanent Secretary, Col. Grandson Wishikoti Katambi (Rtd).
Speaking when he received the facility on behalf of the government, Col. Katambi explained that the college has a total of 1, 134 students who cannot be adequately accommodated with the current infrastructure the institution has and that this is why the institution has greatly appreciated the efforts made by the Trident Foundation in renovating the school of midwifery students’ hostel.
Levy Mwanawasa Medical University approved the affiliation and accreditation of bachelor of science in nursing, midwifery, and public health nursing in 2021 as a provincial hub.
“In 2021, trident foundation limited (TFL) requested a partnership with Solwezi college of nursing in skills development for girls’ education and empowerment. TFL requested to be given at least 10 slots in a year and a maximum of 30 girls to be trained at the school.
This was in line with its programme branded ‘edge’ (Educating and Developing Girls for Empowerment) a program aimed at supporting and enhancing girls’ education and empowerment, particularly less privileged girls from communities surrounding FQM-Trident operations. the focus for edge is building capacities and increasing access to education and training opportunities,” he continued.
Speaking at the same event Health Advisor to the President, Professor Roma Chilengi said that partnership with the private sector is a top priority of the current government agenda, and that government is looking to work with institutions like First Quantum and others, in order to better the lives of society so that the nation moves towards the development agenda for the country.
“We know that this is one among many initiatives that they (FQM) are ploughing back into our society, to make life better. And I think that they are leading the walk, and not just talking, but taking action into reality, and for this, we are very grateful. Government has been committed to making sure that our health institutions and our communities receive their fair share of the national cake,” he said.
And Trident Foundation Manager, Joseph Ngwira said that improving the quality of accommodation for students at the institution will help to motivate them in becoming better health service providers.
“The programme was initiated through consultation and through community needs assessment. It is a programme that is enhancing education for a girl child. It’s a programme that we see will also support healthcare service provision. We initiated this programme with support from First Quantum Limited, our major sponsor for both Kansanshi Mine’s Kansanshi Foundation and FQM Trident Mine’s Trident Foundation Limited. We saw a need for dedicating some resources for girl child education. We have 19 students at this institution and the number will be increased to 30 in June this year,” he continued.
The rehabilitation of the health centres in North-Western Province is part of First Quantum Minerals’ work in the communities through its health and wellness unit called ‘butuntulwanyaunda’ which means ‘community health.