starvation


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Below, Zambiain women wait in line at the Lusitu food distribution center …

LUSAKA (AFP) — Human Rights Watch (HRW) Tuesday accused Zambia’s government of failing to stop escalating violence against women and prevention of access to antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for AIDS sufferers.

A researcher for the global human rights watchdog, Nada Ali, told reporters at a briefing that Zambia lacked specific legislation on violence against women despite the high number of cases reported in recent years.

She said most women in Zambia are scared to undergo HIV testing because of fear of disclosure of their status to their abusive partners who obstruct them from accessing treatment.

“Unless the Zambian government introduces legal and health system reform and removes barriers to HIV treatment that women face, gender-based abuses will continue to shatter the lives of countless Zambian women,” Ali said.

In a report titled “Hidden in the Mealie Meal: Gender-based abuses and women’s HIV treatment in Zambia”, HRW said 17 percent of Zambia’s adult population is living with HIV and 57 percent of them are women.

Maize-based mealie meal, is Zambia’s staple food.

“Health care facilities can play a key role in responding to violence and other abuses of women. Unfortunately, this is not happening in Zambia,” Ali said.

United Nations secretary-general’s special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa Elizabeth Mataka urged women organisations in Zambia and other parts of the continent to begin pushing for the implementation of legal reforms to address the problem.

“Let us go beyond talking now. We need to push for implementation so that these problems can be addressed,” Mataka said at the briefing.

HRW acknowledges that Zambia is one of the few African countries that have made an overall progress in scaling up HIV treatment by offering free life-saving ARV drugs.

“But ignoring these abuses will mean that Zambian government’s goal of universal access to HIV treatment by 2010 will fail,” Ali warned.

Copyright © 2007 AFP. All rights reserved

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one-zambia-one-nation.jpgmedium_flag_of_zambia1.gifThe Zambian Enterprise has now officially entered the donor community for the first time in history.

Zambia has donated over 10,000 metric tones of white corn worth $2.5 million dollars to the U.N World Food Program (WFP) to feed orphans and people living with AIDS, WFP country manager for Zambia, David Stevenson disclosed.

“It is the first time Zambia has done so (donating food) and it’s a tremendous gesture in many ways that shows we are collaborating well with Zambia in meeting the needs of hungry people,” Stevenson said.

He added assessments were underway in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland on food requirements, and part of the Zambian donation could go to help feed hungry people elsewhere in Africa. 

This donation will also boost local food markets because the government buys its maize from small-scale farmers. So far in 2007, WFP has bought 34,000 tons of food in Zambia valued at US$7.3 million. Over the past six years, WFP purchased 295,000 tons at a cost of US$63 million in Zambia. 

In another development, Josette Sheeran, WFP Executive Director welcomed a critically needed donation worth in excess of US$20 million by the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to WFP’s food assistance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), where a lack of funds has already forced the agency to cut back feeding programs for schools and for at-risk infants and small children.  

WFP warned that many millions of North Koreans still face severe food shortages. Even with WFP now being able to reach 1.9 million people, there are still millions of vulnerable North Koreans who are going without food assistance to cover their nutritional needs. 

The Zambian Enterprise may want to find news means and ways to help the North Koreans now that a communiqué is in place, international co-operation is necessary especially if we are the ones on the giving side this time around as in this instance … thanks a trillion.

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr. 

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle 

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