Expectant mothers protest poor roads

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:26:42 +0000


POOR road network in Katuba constituency has made it very difficult for women to access health services from the nearest clinics.

Melody Chileshe (39), a resident of Katuba in Katuba constituency of Chibombo district who is five months pregnant walks a distance of about 15-kilometers to attend her monthly clinic at the nearest health centre.

There are no public buses that go to the area because of the deplorable state of Chikumbi Road.

During the rainy season, the road gets flooded and small vehicles cannot pass through because of the pools of water that collect.

The residents here only use big trucks as their mode of transport, but for women in Melody’s condition who cannot manage to climb such truck, they have no option but to walk, hence making it hard for them to access health services.

It is not only sad but also dangerous for a pregnant woman to walk long distances considering the fact that the environment is not friendly.

Melody told the Daily Nation that it has been hard for her and her family.

She said she gets tired of walking, but that she had no option because in her condition, she needs the health services.

“This has been hard for me; there are no buses that come to this place because of the bad state of the road, except for big trucks which are not safe for women in my condition.

“If it wasn’t for my condition, I wouldn’t have been walking much. So, I think this could be my last pregnancy. I have three children and I have endured this every time I get pregnant, but now I think I can’t do it anymore,” Melody said.

An investigation conducted by the Daily Nation in the area revealed that the situation had also led to pregnant mothers to deliver on their way to the health centre. “This led to women to deliver at home which claimed some women’s lives. Some residents have even been forced to move to other areas where there are buses,” says Patricia Mayaya, another resident of Katuba ward.

And the area ward councillor Sibanda Chitambala is aware of the situation.

Mr Chitambala said the situation with the roads becomes worse during the rainy season when the roads become very slippery and at times impassable.

He said this had made it even harder for pregnant mothers to access health services.

“The Chikumbi road, as you can see, is in a very dilapidated state. If it was in a good state, vehicles owners would have brought their vehicles and made transport easier especially during the rainy season.

“This has made it hard for pregnant mothers as they are being forced to walk long distances to reach health centres,” Mr Chitambala said.

But to help save lives of people in the area, especially pregnant mothers, residents have teamed up and started working on the road to make it passable.

Team leader Susan Mwelwa said the residents; most of whom were farmers donated machinery and other heavy equipment such as tipper trucks and graders to be used in the rehabilitation works.

Ms Mwelwa said the church in the area had also joined in the project by providing manpower.

She, however, implored government to come on board and supplement the efforts of the community by considering tarring the road as soon as possible.

“We have been finding it difficult to ferry patients’ especially pregnant women to the nearby hospital because of the poor state of the same road. So, as residents, we have decided to work on the road and make it passable,” she said.

The situation in Katuba calls for effectiveness in the management and utilisation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

There is need for the area Member of Parliament and other relevant authorities in the area to ensure that the CDF is utilised for its intended purpose which is to empower the community by providing a pot of funding for development projects such as roads, health and education among others.


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