Authors: Dr. Lydia Hangulu, Mr. Preston. E. Hangulu.
Zambia Road Development Agency. Ndola office, Zambia.
Citation Style For This Article: Hangulu L, Hangulu PE . The Zambian Mpika Weighbridge is a public health nuisance to Kaice community!’ Perspectives of Community members and leaders. 2020; 44); pp 14
Transportation networks are a public health issue that are important for the fast, efficient, flexible and delivery of health services as well as bulk goods across various destinations, and provides transport links for the import and export commodities among countries. It is assumed that a high-quality transport infrastructure is required for the economic development of any country. In Southern African countries, road transports link various countries in the region to ports in South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, and Namibia. Road transport alone in Southern Africa carries between 80 and 90% of the region’s total trade. In the road transport sector, weighbridges are known to be effective in preventing road deterioration and reduction of traffic accidents. However, it is not clear how their presence affects the surrounding communities. Studies exploring this issue in Zambia are yet to be found. This study sought to investigate the effects of the Mpika weighbridge on the surrounding community in Kaice, Northern part of Zambia, from the community members’ and leaders’ perspectives.
English and Bemba Focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data with fifty respondents consisting of a community headman, 20 community members, a neighborhood health committee, five police officers, three entrepreneurs, 10 truck drivers, and six weighbridge officers who were all selected purposively and accessed through snowballing. Data was analyzed thematically.
The results of the study revealed that Mpika weighbridge has both positive and negative effects on Kaice community. Positive effects are access to drinking water, availability of accessible roads, schools, employment opportunities to the community members. Negative effects include inadequate sanitation facilities at the weighbridge site causing open defecation around the community. Other problems include an increase in prostitution in the community. Inadequate sanitation and prostitution undermine initiatives aimed at improving the well-being of the people.
To the naked eye, it appears as though the positive effects of the Mpika weighbridge outweigh the negative effects, yet in the eyes of the community members and leaders, the weighbridge is a nuisance. These findings are relevant for policymakers, stakeholders, and other policy implementers who should use them to conduct further studies on this issue and help to design interventions aimed at addressing all social determinants of health adequately before initiating any social-economic projects.