Health systems in Zambia

Zambia’s public spending on health was 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2011, equivalent to US$87 per capita. In the most recent survey, conducted between 1997 and 2011, there were seven doctors and 78 nurses and midwives per 100,000 people.
Additionally, in the period 2007-12, 47 per cent of births were attended by qualified health staff and in 2012, 83 per cent of oneyear olds were immunised with one dose of measles. In 2010, 64 per cent of people were using an improved drinking water source and 42 per cent had access to adequate sanitation facilities. The most recent survey, conducted in the period 2000-11, reports that Zambia has 13 pharmaceutical personnel per 100,000 people.

Zambia’s five main referral hospitals are the Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital (Ndola), Chainama Hills College Hospital (Lusaka), Kitwe Central, Ndola Central and the University Teaching Hospital (Lusaka). There are provincial and district hospitals and health centres throughout the country. Health providers other than the government include faith organisations and health care companies. There are four main manufacturers of pharmaceutical products, all based in Lusaka. Products include tablets, painkillers, syrups and some antibiotics. About 85-90 per cent of pharmaceuticals are imported.

In 1995 a new Mental Health Services Act was passed to replace the Mental Disorders Act of 1951. However, this was repealed in 2005 to pave the way for the dissolution of the Central Board of Health. As a result, there is no approved mental health act currently in place. There are 0.5 mental health outpatient facilities and 1.6 beds in psychiatric hospitals per 100,000 people (2011).

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