CONSTITUENCY WATCH with DOREEN NAWA, Luangwa
ALMOST forgotten because of challenges in accessing the area, Luangwa district can now boast of a first ever bituminous standard road since 1964.
The only road in or out of Luangwa which connects to the Great East Road about 100 kilometres north had seen contractors come and go, and the tarring never came to fruition until March 2013.
On March 30, 2013, all roads led to Luangwa where the late President Sata officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony marking the commencement of the construction of the 91-kilometre Luangwa Bridge – Feira Road project.
â€œIt was a dream come true when the late President Sata came here for the commencement of the road construction. Now we are connected to the rest of the country through this road. It has helped ease the movement of goods like fish, woven baskets and other products from this area,â€ says Faustina Kamwangala of Manueli area.
With the newly-constructed road leading to the area, Ms Kamwangala says Luangwa has now been put on the world map and for those looking for brilliant travel destinations should look no further than the district.
She said the arrival of tourists to watch the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi rivers has increased following the construction of the road.
â€œI believe with the coming of the road, Luangwa will now be looked at through a lens of optimism,â€ Ms Kamwangala said.
Since 2011, Luangwa has seen the development of a notable number of infrastructure such as the construction of the first ever district hospital, Feira Secondary School, the 91-kilmetre Feira-Luangwa road and a Zesco sub-station.
Luangwa District Hospital whose construction has reached 95 percent will soon be opened once equipment is installed.
The first phase of the construction project involved construction of a maternity wing, laundry, X-ray room and mortuary at a cost of K4 million while the second phase, which cost K7.2 million, involved construction of the administration block, female ward, out-patient department and four doctorsâ€™ flats.
The third and last phase is the installation of equipment whose cost has not yet been ascertained.
Speaking in an interview recently, Feira Member of Parliament Patrick Ngoma said the hospital is a huge relief to the ever-growing population in his constituency.
Mr Ngoma, who is also Deputy Minister of Tourism and Arts, said the constituency and the district only had one mission hospital which was overwhelmed.
â€œThe only hospital we have is about 60 kilometres away, the Katondwe Mission Hospital. The residents of this area face quite a lot of challenges, especially when it comes to women giving birth. Most of them cannot afford transport costs to Katondwe,â€ Mr Ngoma said.
Mr Ngoma said Luangwa has never had a district hospital since 1964 and the one under construction will help alleviate challenges residents face in accessing healthcare facilities.
â€œWhat has happened in my constituency is a sample of the PF policies. You do not need to imagine. Government promised the people of my constituency better infrastructure and it is all here. We talked of the road, school and hospital and we have delivered. Government is all about delivering on its promises and changing peopleâ€™s lives,â€ Mr Ngoma said.
And Luangwa district medical officer Modesty Bwalya said the hospital has received 40 beds and 40 mattresses and will soon receive theatre equipment.
â€œThe theatre equipment is the heart of every hospital and once we receive this equipment, we are good to go,â€ Dr Bwalya said.
Dr Bwalya said Government has procured equipment for the hospital and so far full mortuary and X-ray equipment have been delivered to the health institution.
One of the area traditional leaders, Chief Mphuka of the Chikunda people in Luangwa district says the numerous projects taking place shows that Luangwa is privileged and receiving a fair share of development from Government.
Commenting on the newly-built Feira Secondary School, which opened in 2014 built at a cost of K40 million, Chief Mphuka says the school was built to provide quality education to pupils living within the central business district and those within the 5-kilometre radius but it is expected to be turned into a boarding school in future.
The school has about 24 teachersâ€™ houses.
â€œAs residents of Luangwa district, we feel thought of and blessed because in the last four years, we have seen infrastructure that we have never had since 1964,â€ Chief Mphuka said.
Situated on the eastern side of Lusaka Province, about 350 kilometres from the capital city, Luangwa is home to the confluence of the Luangwa and the Zambezi Rivers.
To the east, the Luangwa River borders with Mozambique and to the south the Zambezi River borders with Zimbabwe.
Luangwa district has one of Zambiaâ€™s extreme temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius and is drought-prone making it difficult for tangible agricultural activities.
But besides all this, there are a lot of positive things about Luangwa now that it has been opened up by the newly-constructed road.
The construction of the road will boost economic activities in the area as transportation will be eased.
CONSTITUENCY WATCH with DOREEN NAWA, Luangwa