Hon Kim Hames MB BS JP MLA

Hon Kim Hames MB BS JP MLA

Former Minister for Health; Tourism

    Donations from WA give health hope to Zambia

    17/09/2015 2:00 PM
    • State Government and WA-registered charity deliver vital health care supplies to eastern Africa
    • Up to $250,000 of decommissioned medical equipment and supplies for Zambia
    • Equipment used to help treat infants and adults

    Thanks to the State Government's efforts to build government, health and business links between Western Australia and Africa, valuable medical equipment from Perth is helping improve health care resources and treatment in Zambia.


    The idea for the donation of medical equipment and supplies started in 2013 when Brendan Clark, from Perth-based charity Health Hope Zambia, invited Premier Colin Barnett to visit the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka. The Premier was able to see first-hand the dire condition of medical amenities for staff and patients and he made a commitment to provide State Government health assistance.


    That has resulted in work by Health Minister Kim Hames and the Health Department to transfer decommissioned equipment worth up to $250,000 from the former Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital to Lusaka, Zambia.


    "Three months ago, a 13-metre shipping container loaded with 18 hospital beds, two operating theatre tables, two operating theatre microscopes, a laboratory freezer and a large variety of hospital materials, left WA bound for Zambia," Dr Hames said.


    The Minister said the equipment, which has now arrived at the University Teaching Hospital, Zambia's largest national health facility, would play a vital role in clinical training, preventing infection and reducing infant and maternal mortality rates.


    "This equipment will be used to help fit out the hospital's maternity and birthing facilities, which deliver about 80 babies daily, though they only have 16 beds and many patients have to use mattresses on the floor," he said.


    "The facilities and services Australians tend to take for granted just aren't available in many less developed countries so when you see a need and can make a real, hands-on difference, that's incredibly rewarding as a Minister and as a former GP."


    This latest contribution complements the State Government's work in East Africa through the Department of Health's Global Health Alliance Western Australia (GHAWA) Program in neighbouring Tanzania.


    Dr Hames said following his visit to eastern Africa in May this year and meetings with senior Zambian officials, there was scope to extend the GHAWA's work to Zambia.


    "I first visited Tanzania in 2010 to look at establishing a partnership program for international health support. That visit was a catalyst for the formation of the GHAWA, which has since been operating a training program, particularly for Tanzanian nurses and midwives.  It's a great program that works, so if it can be expanded, even better," he said.


    Fact File

    • Under the GHAWA, Western Australian nurses and midwives can volunteer in Tanzania
    • The program has been highly successful, resulting in a significant reduction in infant and maternal mortality rates
    • Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital was decommissioned in 2014 to coincide with the opening of the State Rehabilitation Service at Fiona Stanley Hospital
    • For more on the GHAWA, visit http://www.globalhealthalliance.com.au/  

    Minister's office - 6552 5300