In a quest to see that people’s standards of living are improved through access to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) that includes right to education, health and water and sanitation, the JCTR’s Faith and Justice Programme has this month  been in Livingstone’s Simoonga Community conducting stakeholder dialogue meetings between service users and service providers with the aim of providing a platform where challenges in accessibility of education, health and water and sanitation services could be identified and addressed.

A field visit in the community revealed that members of the community especially women and children walk as far as 2kilometers to access safe drinking water from the three (3) mono pumps that provide water to over 350 households in that area.

With regards to health services, the health post has two (2)trained health personnel against the required six (6). Teenage pregnancies with alot of home deliveries due to long distance to the health post is common in Simoonga district. Some members walk between 11and 15kilometers to access maternal health care services. It was also revealed that the health post does not have an in-patient department meaning that complicated cases are referred to Livingstone Central Hospital which is over 20kilometers away.

Representatives from the District Health Office and Simoonga Sr-in-Charge committed to establish a youth friendly corner to adress adolescent challenges, lobby for; a mother’s shelter, transport to facilitate outreach activities and a nurse to provide health care services.

The field visit brought to light that Simoonga combined school has inadequate infrastructure that limits learning hours especially for the primary section. The school lacks a computer, science laboratory and a library.

A representative from DEBS pledged to send a Mathematics and Science Teacher as well as carry out a needs assessment of the entire district in order to respond appropriately to challenges. The School Head pledged to formulate a School Board that will include all stakeholders. He also pledged to hold a community meeting to lobby for the completion of the school laboratory.

Article was first published by JCTR