By Nation Reporter
THE Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has implored Government to prioritise support to service delivery in rural areas to reduce poverty.
JCTR public relations officer Tendai Posiana observed that rural areas in Zambia were highly hit by poverty.
Ms. Posiana urged Government to prioritise support to rural government departments to smoothen their operations and improve service delivery in rural areas.
She pointed out transportation, staffing, and accommodation for public officers as major challenges hampering effective government service provision in rural areas.
Ms. Posiana said there was need for adequate transport, manpower and other support that would make public officers effectively conduct their work in rural areas.
“Transportation challenges including lack of vehicles and shortage of fuel have made movement of government officers to provide much needed services, such as extension services to small scale farmers and education against massive cutting down of tress, a nightmare.
“The 2015 Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS) captures rural poverty at 76.6% of the 54.4% national level statistic. The situation also implies that citizens face challenges in accessing food, quality health care services and clean and safe water among other challenges,” Ms. Posiana said.
She also observed that inadequate manpower was restricting access to service delivery in rural areas.
“Essential institutions like clinics close for some hours during the day to allow staff a bit of rest. The staffing challenges have made access to quality health care a pipe dream,” she said. Ms. Posiana further noted that challenges such as lack of electricity had made some public officers such as teachers abandon their destined rural residence for nearby urban accommodation which reduced the amount of time they allocated to school activities.
“Lack of adequate support in line with day to day running of government offices in rural areas amplifies ineffectiveness in providing essential services to citizens and creates an environment that denies citizens access to essentials such as nutritious food, safe water, quality health care, and education etc.,” she said.