Zambia

Zambia Situation Update 10 Mar 2003

Source
Posted
Originally published


Prepared by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, Lusaka
(Reporting developments since 10 February)
Heavy rains inflict localised damage, but are good news for those who planted late

Heavy rains in the past two weeks have swelled major rivers and led to flooding in some southern, eastern and north western parts of Zambia. In Chama, in Eastern province, 1000 families were displaced due to the flooding of the Luangwa river. In the North-West, the Zambia Red Cross ( ZRC) is having difficulty reaching about 15,000 people in Zambezi West, Chavuma and Kabompo, on the west side of the Zambezi river. Currently, ZRC is using a combination of army boats and traditional transport such as ox-carts to get food to distribution centres where the combination of rains, sandy soil and flooding make it difficult to use conventional transport. The situation has eased slightly in recent days with a pause in rains in the area. IFRC trucks, 2 for each district, have been dispatched to help minimise delays in food distribution on the East side of the Zambezi river. In Gwembe, Southern province, heavy rains washed away a key bridge, communication equipment and a police post. School feeding and general relief food operations have been slowed or have halted as roads have become impassable. Preliminary assessments indicate around 1600 households affected and around 1200 hectares of crops damaged. The main areas affected are around the Lukonde and Munyumbwe rivers and the Chipepo area. Assessment reports are being finalised by the Government's Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) after missions to Gwembe and Chama last week.

While concerns remain about damage to homes, infrastructure and crops in these areas, many farmers other areas who planted late owing to the delayed onset of the rains will be benefiting from the past week or so of solid rain.

Celebrating International Women's Day

Government, UN agencies, and civil society celebrated International Womens Day on 8 March with a host of activities around the country. A national march commenced the day's activities in Lusaka, with marchers being flagged off by the UN Resident Coordinator, who also read a message from the United Nations Secretary-General. Similar marches were held in Provincial centres. A number of activities focused around HIV/AIDS, in recognition of its devastating impact on communities, and especially women.

On 7 March, the UN Country Team presented awards to seven Zambians - five women and two men - in recognition of their efforts to promote women's empowerment in Zambia. The group included two women who were instrumental in establishing and managing home based care programs; one of whom established the well regarded Bwafano community support and self-help program for orphans and their caregivers; one young woman who publishes a young peoples' magazine which actively promotes gender equality; and a traditional leader who has worked tirelessly to change his community's attitudes to gender roles.

Official Launch of the Dag Hammarskjöld Chair of Peace, Human Rights and Conflict Management at Copperbelt University

The Dag Hammarskjöld Chair on Peace, Human Rights and Conflict Management was officially launched at the Copperbelt University, Kitwe, on 26 February 2003 by Professor Ibrahim Gambari, UN Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General for Africa. Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nordic, Irish and Belgian missions in Zambia attended the ceremony as well as Representatives of UNESCO, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP and African Universities. The UN Country Team from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was represented at the workshop. The Dag Hammarskjöld Chair on Peace, Human Rights and Conflict Management is a component of The Dag Hammarskjöld Living Memorial initiative which is a collaborative programme of the UN Country Team under its UNDAF (2002-2006). The Chair will initiate research and workshops on peace, human rights and conflict management, and build capacity of existing institutions, such as the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation. The Chair will also maintain links with UN Centers for Peace in Africa and beyond, with COMESA and SADC, Civil Society, NGOs and the private sector. The official launch of the Chair had been preceded by a two-day workshop which endorsed the strong participation of women in programmes for addressing issues around women, children and peace building.

Former President Chiluba arrested and prosecuted

On 21 February, Zambia's former president, Fredrick Chiluba, was arrested and charged with 59 counts of corruption involving K19 Billion . This follows a ruling by the Supreme Court on 20th February which upheld a parliamentary decision to remove the former president's immunity from prosecution. Dr. Chiluba, who has so far appeared in court twice, is on a K1.5 billion bail.

Crop outlook

The 28 February Southern African Development Community (SADC) Food Security Ministerial Brief indicates that the current season's maize production is likely to be better the last five year average, and on par with the last relatively good crop in 99/00. It estimates total likely production at between 945,000 and 1,045,000. The assessment coincides with current thinking in Zambia that there will be a good crop (subject to rains continuing well into March), but there will be pockets of concern, where the crop will fail owing to erratic rainfall patterns, particularly in the South.

The GRZ-FAO-NGO preliminary crop monitoring exercise is finalizing its first month's report. Data is now in for almost all of the 41 districts surveyed by Ministry of Agriculture personnel. Results will be available in the second half of March, after further cross checking and analysis.

Government to scale up distribution of ARVs

Following two pilot projects conducted at the University Teaching Hospital and Ndola Central Hospital, preparations for a nation-wide program have begun. National guidelines on ARV therapy have been developed and 90 medical staff from all nine provinces have been trained. To ensure sustainability, a cost-sharing programme has been drawn up for people living with HIV/AIDS and the Government. The government has completed the tender process for the supply of K12 billion of ARVs.

Defence forces to screen out HIV+ potential recruits

In another development, the Defence Forces in Zambia announced that they will recruit only those who have tested HIV negative. Screening of potential recruits is to commence imminently. The policy has been agreed by the Minister of Health, who has spoken publicly in support of the move. The decision to turn away HIV positive applicants has been criticized. The Defence Forces insist, however, that they are not breaking any labor laws or violating human rights by screening new recruits. Existing staff who are HIV+ will remain in service at lower level and will receive medical attention as required.

Program Developments

Food relief

Planning processes for the period April to June have now begun in earnest. Drawing on the above crop monitoring exercise, remote sensing imagery, and the outcomes of three workshops with implementing partners in Lusaka, Southern province and Eastern province, WFP will develop plans for a significantly scaled back food relief program synchronized with the upcoming harvest in April.

GMO stocks which were in the country when the Government's ban was announced in October 2002 continues to be exported. The exercise is expected to be completed by end March

HIV/AIDS: Advocacy in Drought Affected Areas

A UNICEF Emergency HIV/AIDS Project, linking emergency food distribution with HIV/AIDS communication and community empowerment activities, is continuing in drought-affected areas in Southern Province, in collaboration with WFP and UNFPA, and NGO partners.

In December 2002, some 200 existing drama performers were trained on basic facts on HIV/AIDS, record keeping, as well as participatory approaches to theatre. Since then, 54 participatory drama performances have been conducted at emergency food distribution points in rural areas, where beneficiaries usually wait for hours for rations. The performances provide information on HIV/AIDS and trigger group discussions on the community's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS along with reflections on what can be done about it. For literate community members, fliers with HIV prevention and care information are distributed.

The project seeks to target 714 food distribution points, each reaching about 1,500 vulnerable persons.

Through collaborative efforts between UNICEF, WFP and UNFPA a mobile video-truck intervention, which aims to increase community awareness as well as communities' access to condoms, is to commence operations soon.

Reproductive Health

A UNFPA-funded study of socio-cultural practices has been carried out recently in north western Zambia, to inform program interventions under UNFPA's new country programme. Focus group discussions were held with adolescent boys and girls, adults, teachers,

health providers and community leaders. Questions focused particularly on sexual behaviour, STIs, including HIV/AIDS, safe motherhood, access to services and gender and sexuality. The study found an urgent need to act to address sexual and reproductive health needs, particularly of adolescent girls. It recommended urgent development and funding of IEC programs on gender and sexuality and rights; programs to advocate for the rights of women and girls, and which challenged traditional taboos and attitudes to women amongst traditional leaders; income generating alternatives for women engaged in commercial sex; improved linkages between traditional courts and the government's judicial system. It also found that there was very poor access to maternal health services - and an urgent need for transport, communication equipment and more qualified health providers if access was to improve.

Such studies get to the root of issues related to the spread of HIV infection and gender based violence and help implementers to focus their programmes much more effectively in the relevant community.

Nutrition

The second round of nutrition surveys is nearing completion. Preliminary results are shown in the table below. They indicate a largely stable situation in Zambia.

District
Status
NGO
GAM
(2nd round)
SAM
(2nd round)
GAM
(1st. round)
SAM
(1st. round)
Shangombo
Completed
CRS/Unicef
4.2%
0.8%
3.9%
1.2%
Kazungula
"
Care
2.7%
0.7%
-
-
Kalomo
"
Care
2.4%
0.7%
3.4%
0.7%
Mumbwa
"
Care
4.3%
0.8%
-
-
Chibombo
"
Care
4.0%
1.7%
-
-
Namwala
"
Care
2.4%
0.6%
-
-
Siavonga
Data analysis
Oxfam/Unicef
-
-
3.3%
0.9%
Monze
"
Oxfam/Unicef
-
-
5.8%
!.5%
Senanga
"
Oxfam/Unicef
-
-
-
-
Chama
Data collection
LWF/Unicef
-
-
-
-
Chipata
Planned for late February
LWF/Unicef
-
-
2.8%
1.1%
Sinazongwe
Data analysis
WVI/Unicef
-
-
4.3%
1.1%
Mkushi Valley
Planned for late February
NFNC/Unicef
-
-
-
-

GAM: Global Acute Malnutrition (wasting W/H<-2 Z-score)
SAM: Severe Acute Malnutrition (Wasting W/H < -3 Z-score)
The first round of surveys was in mid 2002.

Education

UNICEF and the Ministry of Education (MoE) co-sponsored a one-day stakeholders meeting in Lusaka on 21 February 2003 to discuss the impact of HIV/AIDS on the education sector, and ways of accelerating the education sector's response to HIV/AIDS. The meeting included government, civil society and donor agencies and was attended by high-level Government officials, including Deputy Minister of Education, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, and a Member of Parliament who also serves as the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on education. Two main action points emerged from the forum: 1) The Deputy Minister noted the absence in the parliament of any HIV/AIDS sub- committee, and promised to advocate for its expedited formation. 2) The inter sectoral task forces for HIV/AIDS at the district level should evolve into a national network which will undertake community sensitization and advocacy, resource mobilization and monitoring.

A satellite youth forum, to tap the views of young people on the effect of HIV/AIDS on their education, and to get ideas on interventions to accelerate the response was supported by UNICEF. The workshop was attended by 60 young people ranging in age from 12-24 from a cross section of schools and NGOs.

HIV/AIDS - Strengthening capacity

Under its multi-sectoral support to fight HIV/AIDS, UNDP donated 10 4WD vehicles to the Government of Zambia in a ceremony in the grounds of UN House on 27 February, and in the presence of the Minister for Health and acting Director of the National AIDS Council. Support to HIV/AIDS represents 35% of UNDP's ongoing Country Cooperation Programme.

Coordination

The first meeting of the Emergencies and Recovery Strategy Group was held on 12 February, chaired by the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit of the Office of the Vice-President. The Group is an attempt to improve strategic coordination and information sharing on priority issues, including vulnerability and crop assessment, preparedness and improved program targeting. It comprises representatives from key GRZ line Ministries, UN agencies, donors and NGOs.

The first visit of the Southern Africa Humanitarian Information Systems (SAHIMS) Project Manager, Georges Tadonki, took place on 4 March. SAHIMS is a web-based humanitarian information management project being established in the United Nations Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Support Office, Johannesburg. Country-based information about needs, responses, gaps, and social and economic context will be stored on SAHIMS, for easy on line access. SAHIMS will eventually provide information on agency programs by sector and by location and will be a central store for key reports and data for aid programmers. During his visit, the project manager met with key information management stakeholders from Government, and the UN and NGO community. Information was exchanged amongst different groups about existing databases, information was provided about how SAHIMS can be used, and views obtained about the optimum parameters for a database for Zambia The project manager also visited the Information Unit of the Government's Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit, and exchanged views on current priorities.

Events calendar - March 2003 (Note events are by invitation)

Date
Time
Event
Place
Contact
Wednesday
12 March
14 h
UNHCR Inter-Agency Meeting UNHCR, Lusaka
UNHCR
Wednesday
12 March
11 h
UN Humanitarian Working Group UNDP, Lusaka
Alice.bell@undp.org
Thursday 13
Friday 14 March
FAO Stakeholders Workshop:HIV/AIDS and Agriculture production, household Food Security Lusaka
FAO Lusaka (John Curry)
Friday
14 March
Emergencies and Recovery Strategy Group Office of the Vice President, Lusaka
Jones Mwanza, National Coordinator, DMMU
Tuesday
8 March
14:30 h
WFP Implementing Partners meeting WFP,Lusaka
Sibi.Lawson@wfp.org
Wednesday
19 March
9 h
Emergency Nutrition Task Force Unicef,Lusaka
Dbrunet@unicef.org
Tuesday
25 March
9 h
WES meeting Ministry of Local Government & Housing,
Lusaka
Melanie_smith@oxfam.org.uk
Thursday
27 March
15 h
UNHCR Inter-Agency
Meeting
UNHCR, Lusaka
UNHCR