Health Centre in Lukulu and Kalabo districts in Western Province have been hit by critical a critical shortage of staff leading to clinics being manned by cleaners and Environment Health Technicians.
And 12 women have died in the recent past due to maternal complications.
The situation is worse in Lukulu West Liuwa areas which lie across Zambezi River.
Obbie Shibwanga, a Planner at a Lukulu District Health Office and Kalabo District Medical Officer, Douglas Singini, told the Minister of Gender and Child Development, Inonge Wina, during the meeting with Heads of Departments that the shortage of health staff has greatly contributed to maternal deaths in the district.
Mr Shibwanga disclosed that the entire western part of the district only has two centres which are manned by nurses while the rest are managed by unqualified staff which he said was dangerous, while Mr Singini told the minister that the health centre allocated in Liuwa area has been cut off from the rest of the district and has no qualified staff.
“Nine women died late last year due to maternal complications and three women have died in similar circumstances this year,” Mr Shibwanga stated.
He stated that the whole Lukulu West is currently inaccessible as it lies in the plains of the Zambezi River where nurses and other health professionals could not be sent.
He feared that the situation would worsen if government delays in sending health personnel to the affected centres.
And the minister was saddened at the number of women dying when giving birth in Western Province.
Mrs Inonge Wina suggested that the district health office should budget for the hiring of helicopters to ferry staff to Lukulu as there is no other means of access to the area.
The minister, however, noted that Government will ensure that people living in inaccessible areas, such as Lukulu West, are also taken care of by providing other means of transport besides the road and water.
The scenario is the same in the education sector were the minister was told by the DEBS for Lukulu, Shuwanga Walubita, that schools in the area have only about three to five teachers per school.
Mr Walubita disclosed that the shortage of teachers, coupled with pupils shunning classes in preference to fishing, has negatively affected the performance of the education sector in the district.
Lukulu district is divided by the Zambezi River into two parts.
The district has a population of about 92, 000 people of which 32 per cent constitutes women.
The district has only one secondary school located in Lukulu West.