As the mining firm reaffirms its desire to keep its employees and their families healthy, through improved access to healthcare
First Quantum Minerals’ (FQM) Kansanshi Mining Plc has handed over to government part of the Solwezi School of Nursing which it has converted into a COVID-19 isolation facility at a cost of US$85,300.
The mining company, represented by Kansanshi Mining assistant general manager John Gladston, also handed over an assortment of personal protective equipment, medical equipment, surgical masks and gloves, refrigerators, beds, blankets and linen altogether worth US$120,000, bringing the total value of the handover to US$205,300.
“There is more COVID-19 testing equipment to be handed over to the government by Kansanshi, which will bring the total spend to more than US$400,000 – way above the US$120,000 the company pledged towards the fight against COVID-19,” said Mr Gladston.
Receiving the donation of the COVID-19 Isolation Facility and accompanying medical equipment and Personal Protective Equipment on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Zambia, North Western Provincial Minister, Hon. Nathaniel Mubukwanu MP, paid glowing tribute to First Quantum Minerals and Kansanshi Mining Plc in particular, for being a reliable all-weather friend of Zambia that has consistently taken care of the communities surrounding the mine through its corporate social responsibility programme. He urged other corporate bodies to emulate the good work being undertaken by Kansanshi. The minister also implored the beneficiaries of the Isolation Facility to guard the infrastructure and accompanying equipment jealously, as the assets were intended to help the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Provincial Minister also said he was aware of the fact that Kansanshi Mining Plc had imported a GeneXpert COVID-19 testing machine and 10,000 test kits which would be housed by Solwezi General Hospital. He hailed this move by Kansanshi and said the machine would be a game-changer as all samples collected from suspected cases of COVID-19 in the North-Western Province would be tested from Solwezi, thereby speeding up the process. At the moment, samples from the province are sent to Ndola or Lusaka, which delays the results.
And speaking after the handover ceremony, Kansanshi Mine’s Public Relations Manager, Godfrey Msiska, said the donations reaffirmed the company’s desire to keep its employees and their families and members of the surrounding communities healthy through improved access to healthcare.
The mining firm has also gone further by repairing the water distribution network at Solwezi General Hospital, repair of the hospital’s ambulance for disease surveillance, as well as the purchase of further medical equipment and personal protective equipment.
“FQM has been there to lend a helping hand when requested, such as when the company pumped K12 million into the upgrading of Solwezi General Hospital to turn it into a modern health institution in 2013. It is for this reason the company has aligned its community initiatives with every one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a move that puts it at the forefront of best practice in private sector social investment, not just in the health sector, but in its host communities and the country at large,” said Mr Msiska.
FQM has spent over US$440,000 (K8 million) to complement the government’s multi-sectoral approach to fighting COVID-19 in communities surrounding its mining operations in the Kalumbila and Solwezi districts of North-Western Province.
The mining firm has put in place contingency plans to deal with the virus by further strengthening clinical healthcare facilities and stepping up prevention awareness in the province.