The Zambia Citizens' Hearings
The Citizens’ hearings in Zambia, organized by World Vision, took the form of focus group discussions in two districts; Mbala and Kasama. These hearings were held in March with members of the community and Senior Nursing Officers.
A total of 48 participants attended the discussions in Mbala District and 85 participants joined the discussions in Kasama District. Communities shared the challenges they face in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. Access to quality health care facilities was raised a key issue at both the hearings.
This was illustrated by Mr Cephas Mwansa, one of the citizen’s at the Kasama hearing, whose wife and baby died shortly after childbirth. At the hearing he recalled
He shared with participants that his wife’s and child’s deaths could have been prevented if there had been a Rural Health Center (RHC) nearby and employ certified health workers to manage them. Many people, especially pregnant mothers, are still dying because of long distances to get to the nearest health centre.
The Government has been implementing a range of reforms over the past 20 years and implementing a wide range of interventions in an effort to reduce both under-five and maternal mortality, and as shown by the declining statistics, much improvement has been made. However, much remains to be done - high levels of under 5 malnutrition was raised as a key challenge at the community discussion in Mbala.
A follow up event is planned involving a mothers' march to highlight the issue of long distances to health centre's which result in women's and newborn deaths.