Decent shelter key to good health

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 10:08:18 +0000

By ANNIE ZULU

PROVISION of decent shelter and related services for all remains crucial, if the cholera pandemic is to be eradicated completely in Zambia, Civic Forum on Housing and Habitat Zambia (CFHHZ) executive director Grace Mtonga has said.

Ms Mtonga observed that the 2017/2018 cholera outbreak in the country had been severe in the informal settlements.

She said this was because people in such areas lived in poor housing coupled with lack of access to clean water, little or no sanitation and absence of solid waste management.

She told the Daily Nation in an interview that there was need for a permanent solution, as it drained the national treasury to respond to a disease that was avoidable if the citizens lived in healthy conditions.

“These squalid conditions precipitated the disease outbreak that also claimed lives and this requires a permanent solution. We cannot continue as a country with reactive measures.

“If nothing permanent is done to the current living conditions in the informal settlements which is home to 70 percent of the urban population, it is difficult to see an end to future outbreaks of diseases,” Ms Mtonga said.

She also advised Government to finalise all the key legislative instruments that would guide coordinated housing development and activate local industrial hubs.

Ms Mtonga said this would ensure housing development and all economic activities occur in designated places with the health of citizens not being compromised.

She said the local authorities should also be supported with the needed capacity to fully enforce regulations that pertain to housing development and healthy management of public and common spaces especially with the management of waste.

Meanwhile, Ms Mtonga has welcomed government’s intentions to build 5000 housing units in a move to address an estimated housing deficit of 3.3 million housing units by 2030.

She said such efforts remained central to Zambia’s drive towards creation of sustainable cities and communities as they relate to the global agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“As with other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia was experiencing rapid urbanisation and population growth estimated at around 4 percent and 3 percent per annum.  This has created a critical demand for housing and related services.

“This demographic transition calls for development of robust policies and efforts in the land and housing sector,” she said.

She added that she was hopeful that the proposed housing delivery of 5000 housing units by Government for civil servants would also trickle down to the urban and rural poor citizens who were in dare need for decent housing.

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