BUNTUNTULU BWA NYAUNDA TAKES OFF IN KALUMBILA…
By STUART LISULO in Kalumbila
Senior Chief Musele has urged the Lunda people of Kalumbila to embrace First Quantum Minerals’ (FQM) “Buntuntulu Bwa Nyaunda” (BBN) programme for living standards to improve.
And FQM Health and Wellness Manager Kylie van der Mere says the BBN aims to support the existing government health system in the provision of essential healthcare services.
The BBN, a community health and wellness initiative, seeks to improve the health status of people living in the surrounding areas of the Sentinel Copper Mine run by Kalumbila Minerals Limited (KML) and Kansanshi in Solwezi District. The mines are subsidiaries of FQM.
BBN will address health promotion, disease prevention, surveillance and early detection and treatment in diseases like malaria, particularly in under-fives.
Speaking through an interpreter, Winford Mbanvu, at Kisasa Rural Health Centre in Kalumbila District, Senior Chief Musele, who officially launched the project, urged his subjects in this chiefdom to embrace the initiative as it was aimed at improving people’s standards of living.
“We are grateful to FQM because in the past, it is like we’ve been working in isolation; each one was doing his own business, but that this time we have seen collaboration, we have seen partnership. I am saying, ‘congratulations for this move!’ The programme that you (FQM) have brought, which we are launching today, continue like that and we are ready to support you,” Chief Musele said.
“…And I am asking from the general population, let’s put behind the politics because, now, we are no longer campaigning, let’s just forge forward and see the development that is coming, we have to work together. If we can have these preventive measures that are coming on board, we embrace them, we support them; I tell you, we are going to develop our communities. So, let us embrace this programme, which has come to make sure that healthcare is improved.”
Indigenous residents in the area should claim ownership of the wellness initiative for locals to access essential health services.
“Let us, as the owners of the community, as the owners of this programme, lead, and then FQM will follow and support us. On these BBN services, we have learnt a lot; we have learnt how to treat our water so that it is safe for drinking.
“We should also take it upon ourselves to see to it that even our homes are improved; we should not allow a situation of a single room where the mother, father and children don’t have enough room to keep the water. Definitely, in such homes, we expect a lot of disease outbreaks. So, we have to improve our houses so that we have enough room to store our water,” said the chief.
And van der Mere explained that the BBN initiative was rolled out to support the existing government health system in the provision of essential healthcare services.
“FQM has a long-standing commitment to support the communities surrounding the mine site and the BBN initiative is a continuation of this support. FQM has employed a dedicated team of employees to BBN. We look forward to seeing the effects of this engagement and working together with the Ministry of Health and the communities.”
Trident Foundation Limited Community Affairs Development Manager, Joseph Ngwira, has explained that the BBN project is set to enhance healthcare service provision in the area.
“The period 2019 through to 2021 has been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the health sector has been the most affected. The pandemic has, however, helped to identify improvement opportunities and this programme is one of the measures that shall embrace how we shall together respond to health care service provision for our community.”
Ngwira urged the community to recognize FQM as “our investment. The support we have recorded in this community from the inception of Kalumbila Minerals Limited needs to be protected and equally protect the source of that support.”