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Zambia suspends collection of blood for HIV survey assessment after resistance from citizens

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The Zambian government on Friday suspended an exercise to collect blood samples from citizens for an HIV assessment project after it received resistance from citizens.

 

The Ministry of Health sent out its staff around some residential areas for a pilot phase assessment of the Zambia population-based HIV Impact Assessment Survey.

 

But the health staff faced resistance due to the current security situation where people’s homes and public institutions were gassed and has instilled fear in citizens.

 

The security situation is tense after unknown people started gassing people’s home and the public started killing people suspected of behind the gassing.

 

Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said the field work has been temporarily suspended and will only commerce when the security situation improves.

 

He said in a statement in parliament that the survey was harmless and only meant to assess progress in HIV programming.

 

The government, he said, will engage various stakeholders to conducts sensitisation programmes before the commencement of the exercise.

 

According to him, Zambia was one of the nations where the survey is being conducted and that the findings will be announced at the UN General Assembly in September this year.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide

 

 

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Zambian expert urges tougher penalties for race discrimination, saying racism starts since colonialism

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Tougher penalties for discrimination against African Americans is one sure way of protecting the lives of African Americans who have for a long time suffered injustice, a Zambian sociologist said on Thursday in an interview with Xinhua.

Maata Mwiya, a lecturer at the University of Zambia in the Department of Sociology noted that while condemning an act of killing an unarmed person is commendable, there is need to make it more punishable to discriminate against others.

“It starts with condemning because that is the indication that the act itself is deviant and it is unacceptable behaviour,” Mwiya said.

He pointed out that historically, there have been some incidences of racism in the United States and that sometimes the system is the one that creates a situation where individuals become criminals.

He said this in response to comments on the recent murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died at the hands of a named police officer in Minneapolis in the United States.

Protests have since taken place across the U.S. on the back of the killing of Floyd, with demonstrations across the country against systematic racism. Activists, celebrities and members of the public have joined hands to fight back against police brutality, particularly against African Americans.

Mwiya has also implored African governments to fight racism by promoting African ingenuity and values.

He noted that racism started with colonialism and that to prevent it, Africans across the globe need to be culturally strong and less dependent on the west and emphasized the need for Africans to develop themselves and their communities.

“Colonialism taught us to accept Westernization as civilization. But for as long as we continue to accept the Western way of life as civilization and associate Westernization with civilization, we will continue to be looked down on and be discriminated against,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Global Funds gives Zambia over 315 mln USD to combat HIV, TB and Malaria

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The Global Fund has given Zambia over 315 million U.S. dollars to finance programs to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, the country’s agency coordinating HIV programs said on Thursday.

The funds will help Zambia build resilient and sustainable systems for health for the next three years from 2021 to 2023.

National AIDS Council (NAC) Chairperson Bishop Paul Mususu said the funds have been increased from the previous funding of about 263 million dollars for the period 2018 to 2020.

He said during a press briefing that the increase in funding was an indication of the partners’ continued confidence in the country’s health sector.

Zambia instituted the application process last year, he added.

According to him, the Global Fund was also offering catalytic matching funds amounting to 12.3 million U.S. dollars for other programs such as adolescent girls and young women and men in high prevalence settings.

(XINHUA)

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Zambia minister encourages deepened exchanges among Zambian, Chinese youths

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A senior Zambian government official says Chinese work culture should be inculcated in Zambian youths for enhanced national development, encouraging youths of the two countries to have more exchanges.

Emmanuel Mulenga, Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development said Thursday that the Chinese hard-working culture should be indoctrinated in Zambian youths to have a strong generation for strengthened development.

“We (are) looking forward to having youths mentored with Chinese work culture,” he said in an interview.

Mulenga said the ministry is focused to have Zambian youths go for online exchange programs during this period when the world is faced with the challenges of COVID-19.

According to the minister, Zambia will continue to work with China in various youth development programs for continued national youth education projects.

Nathan Mulenga, a student in Luanshya in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province, said the government is trying, by all means, to educate the youths through various programs in conjunction with other countries such as China.

He called on Chinese youth groups to consider partnering with Zambian youths groups for education exchange programs in various fields such as technology.

China is a good model for Africa in terms of furthering national development that is beneficial starting with the youths, he said.

Mulenga is hopeful that the Chinese youths will have more technology exchange programs with their Zambian counterparts.

(XINHUA)

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Global environment body grants Zambia 6 million USD for climate-resilient projects

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The Global Environment Facility has given Zambia a grant aimed at helping the country build resilience in areas prone to negative effects of climate change, a government official said on Wednesday.

Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Jean Kapata said the grant of 6,185,000 U.S. dollars has been given following the approval of Zambia’s proposal.

She said the government has been working with the global environment body since 2017 for the project called Building the Resilience of Local Communities in Zambia through the introduction of Ecosystem-based adaptation and that the approval of the proposal was a step in the right direction.

The project, she said, involves building the capacity of communities living in wetlands and forests to respond to negative effects of climate change.

“The project proposal was aimed at mobilizing funds for the sustainable management of wetlands and strengthening communities to be resilient to the impact of climate change,” she told reporters during a press briefing.

The Green Environment Facility will serve as the implementing agency of this project, she added.

According to her, the project will also address the climate change vulnerability of ecosystems in rural communities, with the aim of reducing the vulnerability.

This, she noted, will be achieved by strengthening the capacity of government and supporting rural communities living in wetlands and forests to adapt to climate change effects.

(XINHUA)

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Zambia on right track to tackle COVID-19: official

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The Zambian government said on Tuesday that the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic was on right track.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga said there was a need to demystify the disease by freely talking about it and undergoing tests.

He said, based on the statistics announced on Monday, the government was confident that it was on the right track in the fight against the pandemic.

“Figures announced show that we are on the right track. So we are thankful to you the front line staff for the great work you are doing in this fight. There is a lot that you are doing to save lives,” he said when health officials visited the ministry to conduct tests.

Zambia has a cumulative total of 1,089 cases and seven deaths.

(XINHUA)

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Zambian children head back to school after COVID-19 shutdown

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Pupils in examination classes flocked back to school on Monday after two months of lockdown caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The schools were closed in March as part of government measures to contain the pandemic.

The pupils, with face masks, returned to begin their lessons in preparation for their examinations.

A Xinhua team that visited some of the schools in Lusaka, the country’s capital, found the pupils in classrooms learning.

Veronica Nyirenda, a student at Roma Girls Secondary School, said she was excited to be back and resume classes after two months of just staying at home.

“I am excited because I missed interactions with my friends,” she said in an interview.

She said the pupils were happy with the preparations done by the school authorities, adding that all the health guidelines have been put in place.

Namangolwa, head teacher at Roma Girls Secondary School expressed happiness that pupils had turned up in large numbers to resume classes.

“We have a full house and everything is just okay. The pupils are happy to see each other after a long time,” she said.

Bernard Mutambwa, head teacher of Ng’ombe PTA School said the school had made preparations in order to abide by the health guidelines as prescribed by health authorities.

He said all the pupils came with face masks except for a few who had to be turned away.

However, there were reports in local media that in some schools, most pupils were turned away because they did not have face masks.

The government had promised to provide face masks to all the pupils before resuming lessons.

(XINHUA)

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Survey shows 75 pct of schools in rural Zambia not ready to reopen

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About three-quarters of primary schools in rural areas of Zambia are not ready to reopen on June 1 because they lack COVID-19 protective materials, a survey conducted by two local organizations and released on Saturday has revealed.

Pupils in examination classes are expected to return to school next Monday after they were closed in March due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

A survey conducted by the National Action for Quality Education in Zambia and the Medical for Quality Healthcare in Zambia has revealed that primary schools in rural areas were not ready to reopen.

In a statement, the two organizations said the schools will need one or two weeks more before they reopen.

The survey monitored 631 rural schools between May 22 and 28.

The survey found out that 90 percent of schools in rural areas lacked sanitizers, had no masks, temperature recorders, were not disinfected and had poor sources of water.

“We are of the considered position that allowing rural primary schools to reopen when they are clearly not ready would be going against the very good and plain guidelines put in place by the government to fight COVID-19,” the release said.

But Jobbics Kalumba, Ministry of General Education Permanent Secretary said the ministry has put everything in place to ensure that schools reopen.

He said schools were ready to observe the guidelines put in place by health officials.

“We cannot fail to open schools just because one of two schools have not met the criteria. The schools are ready. We have been on the ground,” he said.

The schools are expected to provide free masks to all the pupils.

(XINHUA)

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Zambia launches online portal to provide trade information

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Zambia on Friday launched an online portal aimed to provide information on trade to stakeholders.

Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma, who launched the portal, said the Zambia Trade Information Portal will help the country do better in business and trade.

The portal has been developed in line with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, which obliges governments to be transparent and to provide practical guides to trade formalities.

Yaluma said the portal is an authoritative platform for credible business information.

“It will improve trade flow and cement the country’s strategic position in promoting commerce in the region,” he said.

The minister said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about new innovation in conducting business, adding that the portal responds to the new norm as there is little physical contact among traders.

(XINHUA)

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Zambia’s May inflation rate soars to 16.6 pct

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Zambia has recorded an increase in its annual inflation rate in May compared to the previous month, its statistics agency said on Thursday.

The inflation rate has increased from 15.7 percent in April to 16.6 percent in May, according to the Zambia Statistics Agency.

The agency, in its monthly bulletin, attributed the increase in the annual rate of inflation to price increases in both food and non-food items.

Food inflation increased to 17.5 percent from 17.0 percent while non-food inflation increased to 15.5 percent from 14.2 percent the previous month, it added.

However, the month-on-month inflation decreased to 1.6 percent from 2.2 percent the previous month.

(XINHUA)

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