Chavuma On Transformation Path

CHAVUMA District in North-Western Province is undergoing ‘marked’ transformation following the massive Government infrastructure development projects taking root in the area.

Chavuma attained the district status in 1996 but until recently, had been lagging in the area of development as it did not have major social infrastructure that includes a district hospital, boarding school, a modern police station and many others.

But the district’s outlook is fast changing following Government’s decision to inject huge amount of money in infrastructure development projects aimed at giving the area a facelift.

District Commissioner Lawrence Kayumba said in an interview in Chavuma that the district was for the first time in its history since independence poised to have the first-ever hospital and a boarding school.

Mr Kayumba said this was in addition to the many other infrastructure development projects that included a local court and other ordinary secondary schools Government was constructing in the district.

He said construction of the District Hospital at a cost of K22 million had reached an aanced stage with the project now in its second phase and nearing completion.

“This is the first ever-district hospital Government is constructing in Chavuma and so far, phase one of the project which included construction of a kitchen, laundry, X-ray, operating theatre and maternity annex has been completed.

“The project has now gone to phase two which involves construction of the administration block, out-patient ward (OPD), male ward and four staff houses,” said.

Mr Kayumba said the hospital was earmarked to open as soon as phase two and in particular the OPD were completed.

He said the project design included phase three component involving the construction of 10 low cost staff houses but that that would have to be executed while the hospital was in operation.

“Hospital staff comprising a doctor and nurses have already been posted but we have in the meantime attached them to other clinics as we wait for completion of the district hospital,” he said.

Mr Kayumba said construction of the K27 million Chavuma Boarding School, also the first ever boarding school in the district had completed and pupils had since been enrolled except they were still coming from their respective homes as electricity and water and not yet been installed.

He said the school opened last year after facilities such as ablution blocks, dormitories, kitchen required for a boarding institution were completed.

Taskforce distributes 70,000 condoms –

THE Chavuma District AIDS Taskforce has gone on high alert in the fighting against HIVAIDS, following the distribution of a high number of condoms in first quarter of this year, suggesting an increase in sexual activities in the area.

Chavuma District AIDS coordinating aisor Kitanga Kanyoka said more than 70,000 condoms were distributed in the district in this quarter alone.

Mr Kanyoka said in Chavuma that the distribution of the high number of condoms was an indicator that the district was

on the upswing in terms of sexual activities.

He said of late Chavuma had witnessed an economic boom which in turn was attracting more people to the district.

He cited the newly constructed tarmac from Solwezi going all the way to the district and other Government infrastructure projects.

“So when you look at all these development activities, it means Chavuma is attracting more people and it’s obvious to expect the district to have an increase in sexual activities,” he said.

Mr Kanyoka also cited fishing on the West Bank of the Zambezi River as another economic activity that could be linked to increased sexual activities in this quarter.

All in all, he said, the HIVAIDS prevalence rate standing at 5.9 per cent for Chavuma with a population of over 36,000 people, was within acceptable limits.

Mr Kanyoka said health authorities were however, leaving nothing to chance in the fight against HIVAIDS in the district.

He said health authorities had to this effect, introduced voluntary male circumcision to run alongside the traditional practice in the district.

“Male circumcision here has been running as a traditional practice but we have now introduced voluntary male circumcision and our people are currently on the West Bank on ground conducting sensitisation and actual circumcision,” he said.

Residents bemoan high mealie-meal prices –

THE price of mealie -meal in Chavuma District in North-Western Province has skyrocketed to over K100.

The high price of mealie-meal is despite the area being actively involved in maize production.

A survey by the Times in the district revealed that the price of mealie- meal, which was however, out of stock in most retail shops, was pegged at K105.

Residents talked to, said the price of mealie- meal somtimes increased to more than K120.

And Chavuma District Commissioner Lawrence Kayumba said mealie- meal in the district was fetching high because of transportation costs as the staple food was milled in areas outside the province.

“Mealie-meal comes from outside the province as not even Solwezi our headquarters has a milling plant and so when it is brought here, people have to add the transport factor thereby pushing the price further high,” he said.

Mr Kayumba was praying that a milling plant be established within the province soon to save people from exorbitant prices.

APG Milling last year announced intentions to put up a milling plant in Solwezi for production of mealie meal.

Lack of boarding facilities setback for school girls –

SCHOOL girls in Chavuma District are prone to pregnancies because of living in rented houses.

The pupils were forced to rent houses due to lack of boarding schools in the area previously.

Statistics for school girls falling pregnant obtained by the Times from the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) Richard Kasoma indicate that Chavuma had been recording not less than 100 pregnancies among school children every year since 2008.

According to records, Chavuma in 2008 recorded 141 pregnancies among school girls, with the number declining by a minimal margin, to 132 pregnancies in 2009.

In 2010, the district recorded 130 pregnancies while 2012 saw 137 school girls falling pregnant.

In 2012 and 2013 109 and 118 girls fell pregnant respectively.

Mr Kasoma attributed the pregnancies to the decision by girls to live in rented homes, especially at secondary school level.

He said this was in a quest to overcome the burden of having to cover long distances every day to and from school as until now, Chavuma had no single boarding school.

“So we have had a number of girls especially from the West Bank staying in rented homes near secondary schools to easily access education.

“But this made them vulnerable and most of them succumbed to peer-pressure and ended up being pregnant,” said Kosama.

Mr Kasoma said the construction of the first ever Chavuma Boarding School would be a big relief and at the sametime a step in addressing the problem of the school girls having to rent homes, and consequently being prone to pregnancies.

He said in addressing the problem of pupils particularly those on the West Bank of having to cover long distance to get to the East Bank to access to secondary education, Government had constructed a secondary school that side to cater for children there.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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