When complications occur requiring more specialized care, patients are transferred through a crucial route connecting Sakapoti Clinic to Lwawu Rural Health Center in the Mwinilunga District of Zambia. “For five years, we asked government to repair this road,” Senior Chief Kanongesha explains while pointing to the route. He continues, “But we’ve realized that we can’t wait for government anymore. We have to do as much as we can for ourselves.”
Under the Chief’s leadership, volunteers from the community succeeded in fixing the 9km (5.6 mile) road, allowing patients to travel to Lwawu Rural Health Center more quickly and safely in emergency situations. The improved road is just one of the chief’s achievements towards improving health in Mwinilunga. His impressive list of accomplishments also includes:
- Implementing a health education campaign on sanitation and malaria via community radio
- Forming a sanitation committee to address community sanitation issues
- Creating new infrastructure, such as pit latrines, at Sakapoti and Lwawu Rural Health Centers, for improved maternal health and sanitation
- Distributing insecticide-treated nets to protect community members from malaria
In listing these accomplishments, the chief proudly states, “All of this is because of ZMLA.” The Zambia Management and Leadership Academy teaches skills as root cause analysis, work planning, delegation, and team work. The chief praises the ZMLA for helping him identify strengths among his people so that the community can leverage its existing skills to achieve practical goals. Beyond the health sector, the Chief has also applied his new management and leadership skills to renovate bridges, repair pot holes, build a new marketplace, and carry out other community projects.