The National, Monday 25th March 2013
By PETER ESOP WARI
THE development of healthy villages and communities must be given priority before major development projects and programmes are implemented in the Southern Highlands.
Provincial health inspector Francis Wata said people in rural areas lacked basic
water and sanitation services and were suffering from related diseases.
He said people should be provided with information on safe water and proper sanitation to enable them to have clean homes and villages.
Wata urged health workers and other professionals to provide health education to rural people who were vulnerable to diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and drugs and alcohol abuse.
“Educated people with business skills and knowledge should assist their ward members with project proposal writing, book keeping and assist school leavers to search for training and learning opportunities,” he said.
“Educational programmes for school leavers, law and justice awareness programmes and agricultural and economic life skills programmes motivates the community to become self reliant and participate meaningfully in income generating activities.”
Wata said this approach created challenges for communities to change their mindset and attitude and helped them to change their physical environment and living conditions.
“All sectors, including women groups, churches, youths and working class people, should be partners for the development of their own community,” he said.
He said under-privileged groups were being marginalised and their children did not go to school and were missing out on free education.
“These children are now roaming the streets of major towns and cities and are becoming a nuisance for the society and they are committing serious crimes and the government should look for alternatives to support their living,” he said.
“If we want the Southern Highlands master plan to be successful and to have a transformed province, then villages and communities must be
given priority as they will be ones to contribute meaningfully to the development,” Wata said.