The newly proposed Maseru District Hospital and Eye Clinic whose sod-turning ceremony was carried out on Wednesday is set to munch a thrilling M800 million.
A shot in the arm for the public health which is said to be backed by the Chinese Government grant with 430 million RMB under the China-Aided Project is projected to take 30 months of erection under the well -spoken Chinese construction company; Shanghai Construction Group.
The Prime Minister Moekesi Majoro in his opening speech said the multimillion maloti sanatorium will operate as the National Referral Hospital to release the load off Queen â€˜Mamohato Memorial Hospital.
During the sod turning ceremony, Majoro indicated that the government of Lesotho approached the Chinese Government to support the initiative of building the hospital with finances under the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
â€œI wish to thank the government of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China for the substantial grant, which testifies to the strengthening of our bilateral cooperation and friendship. This is one of the many projects China has assisted Lesotho with. The new M800million hospital will be a modern facility that intends to improve health services to Maseru residents and others, and in particular services eye care, cancer, TB, HIV, and non-communicable diseases including via telemedicine platform,â€ the premier said.
â€œThe hospital will also have training facilities and dormitories for trainee doctors and nurses and will feature some of the state-of-the-art medical equipment.
â€œOver the last months, we have witnessed many instances of material support by the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China to our country, including on PPE, food assistance, infrastructure including roads and energy projects and todayâ€™s support to the health sector.
â€œThe bonds of friendship and cooperation have continued to strengthen and should be based on demonstrable mutual support for each other. I would like specifically to thank Ambassador Lei for his effective and professional representation of his country here in Lesotho,â€ he said adding that only 100 local people are going to get a job during the period of construction.
â€œI am delighted to tell you that about 100 Basotho will secure jobs during the construction period,â€ he said.
The Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho Lei Kezhong stated that the hospital which is estimated to accommodate 200 beds will be a complete public health system with advanced medical services.
He said the project comes as a result of the warm relationship between the two countries and China-Africa relations that had joint hands on many developments over the decades.
â€œThis is another important project of bilateral pragmatic cooperation between China and Lesotho under the FOCAC framework. It is a clear manifestation of the deep friendship and strong bilateral relations between our two countries and peoples,â€ Kezhong said.
â€œAfter its completion, the new Maseru District Hospital and Eye Clinic will be able to operate with full functions, and provide better health care in a beautiful environment. Most importantly, it will help Lesotho build a more complete public health system, provide advanced medical services to the patients and improve the livelihoods of the Basotho people,â€ he said, adding that China has been providing support to combat the vicious Covid-19 pandemic.
â€œThe Covid-19 pandemic outbreak has brought us closer together. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, even before the first Covid-19 case was registered in Lesotho, China has been providing support and assistance to Lesotho to the best of our capacity in fighting the pandemic.
â€œSo far we have donated eight batches of anti-Covid-19 medical supplies to Lesotho. At the request of right Honorable Prime Minister, a Chinese medical expert group came here last October to share their expertise and experiences with Lesotho counterparts in battling the epidemic,â€ he said.
â€œUnder this initiative, we are going to pair up China Wuhan Hospital of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine with Maseru District Hospital. The two hospitals will form a strong partnership in providing better medical services to our Basotho friendsâ€ he said.
He continued that, â€œWith the vision of building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future proposed by President Xi Jinping, we will continue to promote the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and strengthen our cooperation within the framework of Belt and Road initiative together with our Basotho friends, so as to bring more benefits to our two countries and peoples.
â€œI think the relationship between China and Lesotho is a good example of China-Africa relations. It is a relationship featuring mutual respect, win-win cooperation, common development, non-interference in each otherâ€™s internal affairs, and equality of all countries regardless of their size,â€ he said.
For his part, The Minister of Development Planning, Selibe Mochoboroane narrated that Lesotho participated in the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in September 2018, citing that the rapport between the two countries had yielded to the establishment of the New State House, Manthabiseng Convention Centre, New Parliament et al.
â€œThe Kingdom of Lesotho participated at the 2018 Beijing Summit and the seventh ministerial conference of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that was held in Beijing from September 2 to 4, 2018. Those who attended included the following; Heads of State in Government, Heads of Delegation, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers in charge of Economic Cooperation from China and 53 African Countries attended the summit and the ministerial conference respectively, following FOCAC summit, the Kingdom of Lesotho submitted a list of project which included construction of Maseru District Hospital.
â€œThe candid mutual relationships and cooperation between the countries is highly applauded. The friendship between the two countries comes from very far and has yielded tangible development results, to mention a few is the new parliament building, new state house, Manthabiseng Convention Centre, China-Lesotho Friendship School which added our A-Level offering schools to three in Lesotho.
â€œState Library, various exchange programs including China Medical team, various training ranging from short to long term, the list is long,â€ he said.
â€œUnder the current cycle of FOCAC, the cabinet of his Majestyâ€™s government had one voice in submitting fifteen projects which are aligned to our national properties. Four are ongoing, on top of the four; Peopleâ€™s Republic of China approved three more projects which are as well on going,â€ he said.
â€œDuring this cycle although we had some implementation challenges due to Covid-19 pandemic, it enabled us to identify where the shortfalls are and I do not hesitate to pronounce that for the subsequent cycles, the grounds are well leveled for their implementation.
He continued that, â€œThe establishment of cabinet subcommittee which is mandated to ensure successful implementation of FOCAC in Lesotho is one of the indicators that show our readiness.
â€œThe Ministry of Development Planning will be monitoring the implementation of this project closely to ensure adherence to agreed deliverables and outputs.
â€˜Coordination for problem solving will be a major role played by the MDP between Public Works and Health and the construction company. The reports will be published to inform the public on the progress in every three months,â€™ he said.