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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Zambia Needs 150,000 Units Of Donated Blood Per Year

By Paul Shalala
Dr. Joseph Mulenga (right)

The Zambia National Blood Transmission Service (ZNBTS) says it needs 150, 000 units of blood per year to sufficiently cater for Zambia’s growing blood needs.

ZNBTS Director  Dr. Joseph Mulenga says the country only manages to donate 100, 000 units of blood with a deficit of f50, 000 units.

Dr Mulenga says there is need for more Zambians to come forward and donate blood which can save more lives in hospitals.

"Blood saves thousands of people. But we need to donate more so that we can save more women and children who need life," said Dr Mulenga during the rescheduled 2015 World Blood Donor Day which was held in Kitwe today under the theme: Thank You For Saving My Life.

He also dispelled assertions that donated blood is used for satanism.

"Many people accuse us of satanism. They say we collect blood for satanism. Ok here iam, am the chief satanism if you like. But our job is purely to save lives, nothing like satanism," he added, amid laughter from the audience.

And Kitwe District Commissioner Chanda Kabwe says donating blood is a national duty which citizens must be happy of.
Inside a blood bank

Mr Kabwe, who officiated at the event held at Lechwe School, says Zambians must take keen interest in blood donation because the activity saves thousands of mothers and children.

"Zambia is a christian nation, we should uphold life. Lets give blood and save more lives. By giving, we are showing love to one another.

Meanwhile, a recipient of donated blood recounted how she almost died due to lack of blood in her body.

"I was in labour and i was at the point of dying. But because of donated blood, my life was saved. So lets keep giving blood," said Sibo Mwala. 

A number of committed blood donors were honoured by the ZNBTS during the event.
Prominent among them was Akolwa Lishomwa who holds the record for the highest blood donor on the Copperbelt.

The 23 years old has donated blood 56 times over the past 16 years.

Among pupils, who are the largest donors to Zambia’s Blood Bank, Jane Manjabila of Chifubu Secondary school in Ndola was honoured for the highest blood donor among pupils on the Copperbelt.

Jane has donated 10 times.

The Blood Bank at the Kitwe Central Hospital is the reservoir for donated blood for the whole of the Copperbelt Province.
Donated blood

About 30,000 units of blood are donated by Copperbelt residents making this region the second largest blood donating region in Zambia after Lusaka Province.

Of all the blood donated in Zambia, 40% is used by children under the age of 5, another 40% is used by people with different health complications while the remaining 20% is used by pregnant women.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lunga: A District Without A Viable Economy

By Paul Shalala in Lunga
Lake Bangweulu

Deep in the waters of Lake Bangweulu in Luapula Province is a new district and  maybe the only one completely surrounded by water.
The islands collectively called Lunga,  were declared a district by late president Michael Sata soon after he was elected President in 2011.
Access to this district is only by boat from Samfya district on the mainland.
By speed boat, the journey takes about two to three hours.
But for those travelling by canoes, it is a slow journey that takes two days.
On the southern side of Lake Bangweulu is a channel that passes through swamps leading to Lunga.
Over the years, this channel has been narrowing and making it difficult for large speed boats to pass through.
Government through the Ministry of Works and Supply has supplied this dredger to open up the channel and allow people to travel between Samfya and Lunga.
On either side of the channel are hundreds of people who live in these grass thatched houses.
These are nomadic fishermen who arrive on this channel around May every year.
They are experienced fishermen who travel all the way from Chilubi Island to come and fish and make money in Lunga.
The channel leading to Lunga
They only abandon these houses when the water levels rise in December.
However, the Lunga speaking people live on the four main islands.
The largest of them is Kasoma Lunga island which is also the seat of government.
This island hosts a school which also caters for the nearby islands.
It is also on this island where Chief Kasoma Lunga of the Lunga people lives.
For those with mobile phones, Kasoma Lunga island is the only place where they can make phone calls in the district.
On the part of government, several infrastructure is being put up.
BGC Construction is building 20 medium cost houses at a cost of K9.6 million.
This project has employed over 400 women much to the delight of the area member of parliament.
Other construction projects in Lunga include ten more medium cost houses, 20 high cost houses and a post office.
A modern Police station is also coming up at the cost of K20 million.

A civic Centre is also under construction.
Kasoma Lunga Island

Lunga’s main economic activity and revenue earner is finishing.
However, the fish stocks on these islands and swamps are depleted as over fishing is the order of the day.
This will pose a big challenge for the Lunga District Council to raise funds to provide social amenities.
With the passing of time, maybe tourism will help this district in its efforts to raise money.
Despite that,  life in Lunga is normal and people here are hopeful of good things to come.

Monday, July 20, 2015

PF Copperbelt Chief, 4 Others Plead Not Guilty To Various Offences

By Paul Shalala
Notice at the Kitwe Magistrate's Court

Patriotic Front Copperbelt Province Chairman Stephen Kainga and four other PF members have pleaded not guilty to various charges levelled against them.

When the matter came up for plea in the Kitwe Magistrate Court this morning, both Mr Kainga and Stanely Chandindi pleaded not guilty to obstructing an officer on 15th July in Kitwe.

The duo are jointly charged for obstructing Chief Inspector Lungu while he was executing his duties. 

Magistrate Ikechukwu Iduma has since been adjourned to 10th August for possible commencement of trial.

In another case, Richard Chileshe, who is popularly known as Chile One has pleaded not guilty to threatening violence contrally to section 90 B of the laws of Zambia.

Facts before the court are that on 15 July 2015, Mr Chileshe discharged a loaded firearm with intent to cause alarm to any person.

He appeared before Magistrate Penjani Lamba.

Meanwhile, two more PF members John Kangwa and Brian Mulenga have pleaded not guilty to two counts of theft from person and assault occassioning actual bodily harm.

They are alleged to have assaulted Progress Mwila and stolen his camera worth K1,000 but they have pleaded not guilty before Magistrate Kapinda Chipamu.

Bail for the five PF members has since been extended.

All their cases are related to violence that rocked Kitwe last week when opposition UPND President Hakainde Hichilema visited Kitwe to open his party's Secretariat for the Copperbelt Province in Chachacha Compound.

And Magistrate Prosper Mwila has granted bail to 16 juveniles and a Kitwe man who were in custody after being charged for idle and disorderly conduct.
The 17, are alleged to have formed criminal gangs terrorizing residents of Kwacha, Bulangililo and Kamitondo townships in Kitwe and they call themselves SOD.

SOD, which some refer to as Sons of the Devil, is a gang of young boys which has terrorised Kitwe residents for some time now.

When Magistrate Mwila announced that he was granting them cash bail of four thousand kwacha each with three working surities, 10 of the 17 juveniles pleaded for leniency that they were Grade nine pupils who are scheduled to start writting exams tomorrow. 

The juveniles have since been taken back into the holding cell as they wait for their parents to meet bail conditions.

The matter comes back to court on 29th July for trial.

USAID-Funded Project Helps Reduce Multiple Sex Partners In Ndola

By Paul Shalala in Ndola

An HIV and AIDS project in Ndola’s Kawama area has helped reduced the level of multiple sexual partners by residents who have been under monitoring for five years.
The United States-funded COMPACT project helped residents form safe love and alcohol committees to promote safe sex and reduce the chances of HIV transmission.

At the close of the project on Wednesday last week, results showed that some people monitored had reduced the number of sexual partners in the five year period the project ran. 
At the close of the project on Wednesday, COMPACT Chief of Party Chabu Kangale revealed that most respondents in Kawama had reported a 10 percent reduction in multiple sexual partners in the past five years.
Mr Kangale also revealed that condom use had also increased in the area as a result of community workers who have been visiting bars and homes to sensitise people on safe sex.

Implemented by the Lusaka-based Population Council, the five-year project dubbed COMPACT, helped the community to have safe sex and reduce the number of sexual partners.
This was done through the creation of safe love clubs, alcohol committees, gender action groups and several others.
These groups of volunteers went around the community to sensiting people on their specific roles.
After five years, interesting results have come out.
"These results show that COMPACT had an impact on the way people behave sexually. We are happy that people are now adhering to guidelines that safe love clubs have given them," said Mr Kangale.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been spearheading behavioural change programs worldwide.

USAID Head of Community Health Jessica Heally said HIV transmissions can only be halted if people change their attitudes.

Ndola District Commissioner Rebby Chanda
"We are happy to note that condom use is on the increase. Now we need to also ensure that this situation is sustained," said Ms Heally.
Ndola District Commissioner Rabby Chanda, who was guest of honor at the closing ceremony for COMPACT project, called for the protection of the girl child.

"When you educate a girl, you educate the nation. I want to advise parents seated here to avoid marrying off their school-going girls. Allow them to complete schools and grow,"

More than three dozen volunteers were awarded certificate of participation for taking part in the COMPACT project.

With the close of the project, COMPACT handed over several tables, desks, chairs and a Toyota Hilux vehicle to the Ndola District Health Office to help in HIV prevention programs in the area.
Apart from Ndola, the COMPACT project was also implemented in Chongwe and Rufunsa Districts of Lusaka Province.