JCTR PROGRAMME Officer – Social and Economic Development Innocent Ndashe said in a statement that the rural areas in Zambia are highly hit by poverty.
Mr. Ndashe said the 2015 Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS) captures rural poverty at 76.6% of the 54.4% national level statistic. The situation implied that citizens face challenges in accessing food, quality health care services and clean and safe drinking water among other challenges.
He disclosed that the Rural Basic Needs Basket stakeholders’ meeting that JCTR held in Masaiti district in September, 2016 revealed that transportation, staffing, and accommodation for public officers were hampering effective government service provision in rural areas.
He said transportation challenges, including lack of vehicles and shortage of fuel, had 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.
Mr. Ndashe said the factors mentioned had contributed to low agriculture productivity in 2016 for households.
“This situation threatens household food security and households sources of income.
“The area has also witnessed massive cutting down of trees for charcoal production as a result of lack of control by the department of forestry.
“The situation would likely have negative impact on climate in the longer term, resulting in poor and intermittent rainfall pattern amongst other challenges,” he said.
He added that the other challenge restricting access to service delivery was that of inadequate manpower.
He said essential institutions like clinics were closed for some hours during the day to allow staff a bit of rest.
He said the staffing challenges have made access to quality health care a pipe dream.
He said it was JCTRs’ observation that 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, therefore, creating an environment that denied citizens access to essentials such as nutritious food, safe water, quality health care and education among other needs.