Historical perspective of UNZA Health Services

University of Zambia (UNZA) management established a Clinic at the first campus of UNZA on John Mbita Road in Lusaka in February 1966, with the objective of providing basic health care and health promotion services to the students of the newly established university. As the first intake of students was enrolled on 17th March 1966, the Clinic was already operational and coordinated the student medical examinations at the then Lusaka Central Hospital which was later to become the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).   When the Great East Road Campus of UNZA opened in 1968, the Clinic was relocated to the Great East Road Campus and was housed in the premises currently housing Security Services. As the student population grew, UNZA management envisioned constructing more suitable premises for health service delivery. 

UNZA Clinic was designed in the early years of Zambia’s independence. Located southwest of the Great East Road Campus, its construction was completed in 1977, and health service delivery started in the newly constructed Clinic in January 1978. The Clinic was meant only for the student population, then estimated at roughly 2,500, but prevailing circumstances at the time, including proximity meant that staff members started using the facility almost immediately. Service delivery was extended to staff dependents in the 1980s. Finally, in the early 1990s, a component for inclusion of members of the surrounding community at nominal contributions was added. 

Clinic historyService evolution at UNZA Clinic
Since its establishment in 1966, UNZA Clinic has evolved into a fully-fledged health facility, offering a wide range of health care and health promotion services to the university community and beyond. Provision of basic clinical and nursing consultations started in February 1966 with the establishment of the Clinic. Mental Health Services were added on as early as 1976 as part of clinical teaching by the Psychiatrist from the UNZA School of Medicine. Admission services started in 1979. Family planning services started in the 1980s while Antenatal Clinics (ANC) started in January 1991.   Dispensing services were offered from inception but it was only around 1982 that Pharmacy staff were employed to offer pharmacy services. In 2005, pharmacy services included dispensing of Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) in the newly opened Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Clinic following its establishment in February 2005. Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) started in 2008 while provision of eye care services started in 2009. Offering of basic laboratory services commenced in 1984 with the transfer of a laboratory technician from the School of Medicine to the Clinic. Laboratory services were being provided in the annex room in between the Wards which had initially been designated as an isolation or special ward. Keen to ensure critical services were included in the package of health services offered by UNZA Clinic, university management initiated construction of more suitable premises for more laboratory services. The construction of the laboratory completed around 1989.  In 2013, further upgrades were made to the laboratory to include a new waiting area, specimen collection bay and additional work spaces for processing of laboratory samples. From inception, service delivery at UNZA Clinic has enjoyed generous support from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and its partners as well as from internal stakeholders.