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COMPLAINTS by the residents of Mapepe area in Chilanga Constituency in Lusaka Province that they are at the mercy of criminals and have been facing difficulties in accessing professional medical care deserve urgent attention.

The residents told the Sun that they have to either go to Kafue or Makeni ZNS Hospital, which are hard to reach in time.

It is sad that lives have been lost because there is no health post in the area.

One of the residents, Esther Kaoma, a housewife, says she lost her baby on the way to the nearest hospital after she delivered it pre-maturely and needed experts to help her save its life.

Because of the distance she had to cover to reach the nearest public healthcare facility she ended up losing the baby.

We can only imagine the trauma and sense of loss Ms Kaoma feels.

“Here in Mapepe life is hard, especially when you need medical attention or need to report a crime because both the police and the clinic are far. I lost a child on my way to the nearest health facility,” Ms Kaoma said.

We are sure that this is not an isolated case.

At the time Government is working hard to make universal access to quality and timely medical care a reality across the country, it is worrying that there are citizens who have to travel long distances to access such services.

We urge Chilanga Member of Parliament Maria Langa Phiri and the district health office to treat this case with the urgency it deserves.

They must mobilise resources to put up a health post, with a maternity wing and a full complement of staff.

No Zambian should fill that they are a second-class citizen.

We are appealing to the private sector, especially business houses operating in Chilanga district to work with the MP to help the Mapepe community.

What is even more worrying is the revelation that there is no police post, and that thieves attack residents with impunity because they are aware that the nearest police station, Chilanga, is kilometres or hours away.

Henry Mapopo, a shop owner, was last month robbed in broad day light.

Mr Mapopo said it took three hours for Chilanga police to respond because they were the only station near the area.

He laments that crime in Mapepe is on the rise because criminals are taking advantage of the absence of a police post in the area.

“Here, when thieves are attacking you, you are own your own. No one will dare help you because these criminals move in large groups of 20 to 30, and people are scared to help,” Mr Mapopo said.

We cannot allow a situation where thieves harass a community whenever they feel like and take their time because they know there are no police anywhere near who can help the hapless residents.

Ward councillor Mwamba Misheck says he was aware of the problems.

But his promise that the problems will be addressed when money is available does not inspire hope in the community.

Let him take up the matter with relevant authorities with the urgency it deserves.


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