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M’membe raise concerns about drugs shortages and condemns the detention of Dr. Chris Zumani Zimba

In the face of a dire health crisis marked by shortages of drugs and medical equipment in hospitals and clinics, concerns are mounting over the lack of urgency displayed by the UPND government in addressing this critical issue. The right to healthcare is a fundamental aspect of a decent standard of living, and governments, even those grappling with limited resources like ours, are obligated to allocate maximum available resources to ensure its realization.

The enjoyment of the right to an adequate standard of living necessitates equal and adequate access to healthcare services for all citizens. To achieve this, the government must acknowledge the persistent problems plaguing our healthcare system and display the necessary resolve to address them with the urgency they deserve. The current situation requires a departure from viewing healthcare as an industry, as it is not a commodity that should be commodified for profit. It is imperative that we reclaim ownership of our health and prioritize care over profit-driven motives. The lives of our citizens depend on it.

Dr. Fred M’membe, President of the Socialist Party Zambia, emphasized the need to address the crisis in the healthcare system. He stated, “We need to move away from the notion that our health is something to be insured by an ‘industry.’ The notion that it is any part of an industry is fundamentally wrong. Health is not a commodity. It cannot and ought not to be commodified. Our health should not be used for profit. We need to take back the ownership of our health. Let’s bring the care into ‘health care’ instead of giving it to an ‘industry.’ Our lives depend on it.”

As a socialist, Dr. M’membe questioned whether significant improvements in the healthcare system could occur without fundamental changes in the broader social order. He argued that the problems facing the healthcare system were deeply intertwined with the larger issues afflicting our society and could not be resolved in isolation. According to Dr. M’membe, “Our viewpoint, as socialists, questions whether major improvements in our health system can occur without fundamental changes in the broad social order. One thrust of the field — an assumption also accepted by many non-socialists — is that the problems of the health system reflect the problems of our larger society and cannot be separated from those problems.”

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised regarding the detainment without trial of Dr. Chris Zumani Zimba, former President Edgar Lungu’s Political Advisor. Dr. Zimba’s incarceration, which has persisted for over ten days, has drawn attention to the growing trend of employing state machinery, including the police and law enforcement agencies, to settle political scores. Dr M’membe, in support of Dr. Zimba, remarked, “Today, my team and I visited former President Edgar Lungu’s Political Advisor Dr. Chris Zumani Zimba, who has been in detention without trial for more than ten days now. We listened to his side of the story, and it is very sad. Politics should be fought with politics. Dr. Zimba has done nothing wrong, and it will be proved in court.”

Dr M’membe further criticized the current administration’s use of state resources and institutions to fight political battles, emphasizing that such practices would undermine the nation. He remarked, “What was opposed in the previous regime must be condemned under the current UPND government. This growing trend of using State Machinery by this government, the use of the Police and Law Enforcement agencies to fight their political battles with others will surely destroy our country. We can do better and deserve better. This is not the way to run a country and its people.”