Blogs

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health Dr Chirstopher Kalila and Local Journalists share notes about the MeTA Zambia SRHC report at Parliament shortly after MedRAP team paid a courtesy call in Lusaka recently.

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MINISTER of Commerce

MINISTER of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma(centre) receives a 2019 sexual reproductive health commodities report from the Medicines Research and Access Platform(MEDRAP) national coordinator Liyoka Liyoka(left) on Wednesday. Looking on, MedRAP assistant coordinator programmes Gwendoline Sikapizye.

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Mission Health Facilities To Reconsider Stance On Discouraging Contraceptives

EVEN though there is nothing in scripture which explicitly prohibits contraception, some church teachings do not encourage the use of contraceptives.

This could perhaps be because Christian scriptures encourages humans to be fruitful and multiply, or maybe because it is considered as committing abortion because science says conception happens immediately after sex.

It is worth noting that there are two biblical passages in the Bible which are sometimes interpreted as being opposed to birth control. The first one being Genesis 1:28 which states that 'And God blessed them; and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth'

Some people interpret that as meaning that intentionally preventing pregnancy would be wrong. But in its original context, this verse was part of a passage telling how God has given mankind stewardship over the world, and it was not a statement about birth control.

The second passage Deuteronomy 25:5-10 which states if a man died childless, his brother or nearest relative was expected to marry his widow and father a child to carry on the deceased's name and inherit his property.

The Bible gives clear, direct guidance on many topics of morality, but not on birth control. Thus, any inferences from the Bible are opinions and not Biblical evidence.

Despite the biblical teachings, the narrative is slowly changing because more women access contraceptives as it is considered their right.

Even though it is a right, Zambia has about 21 percent of married women aged 15 to 49 who still have unmet family planning needs.

This statistic leaves much to be desired and is a clear indication that Zambia has a long way to go in meeting all the sexual reproductive needs of its people.

This is according to the 2019 report by the Medicines Research and Access Platform (MedRAP) on a research which measures Accessibility, Availability and Affordability of Sexual Reproductive Health Commodities.

This is why the research also suggests that there is urgent need to continue intensifying strategies focusing on both the supply side and demand side.

The church's stance on contraception has been consistent and clear in most of the health facilities which they manage as they do not provide family planning commodities.

There are rural places in Zambia were the only available health facility is Church run which usually deprives the women in the area to access family planning commodities.

This is why during the dissemination meetings by MedRAP team in Southern Province, The Livingstone Pastors Fellowship chaired by Pastor Oscar Muyunda said there is need for the church to consider advocating for the use of contraceptives.

Pastor Muyunda said the church must not discourage the use of contraceptives but rather teach about them to help with child spacing and preserving the health of its members who might succumb to pregnancy complications.

And Chief Mukuni of the Toka-Leya people of Kazungula said even though he is member of the church, he has been on many platforms advocating for the use of contraceptives.

"We need to be in the forefront as leaders to advocate for the use of contraceptives. Doing so does not mean we disrespect religion. Family planning is essential to families," he said.

Government could not pay a deaf ear to this issue and Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale urged the church to relax their stance on contraceptives and provide them even at the church run health facilities.

Dr. Hamukale said family planning is an essential need for all our communities in Zambia including members of the church who also need these services.

While prohibitions on birth control continue, millions of church members around the world, however, have simply chosen to ignore them. But those in rural areas can't access family planning because the 'only health facility' in the area does not provide.

It is an undoubtable fact that if Zambia is to achieve universal health coverage and ensure sexual and reproductive rights for all, there is need to ensure that the commodities and services are accessible to all that need them, with particular attention for young women


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Joint Action Planning meeting in Tanzania

​Enter your text hMeTA coordinator, Liyoka Liyoka and Communications Officer, Zindaba Ngwenyama are currently in Dar es salaam, Tanzania attending the Joint Action Planning meeting. The objective of this meeting is to review and learn from the outcomes of the Health Systems Advocacy partnership which is now two and a half years into its 5 year mandate. These are Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In Zambi, the partnership is made up of Achest, AMREF and MeTA. The HSA whose mandate it is to strengthen health systems, specifically sexual reproductive health through lobbying and advocacy has now reached the mid term. It is therefore essential for us to look at how we have performed in the last two and a half years, learn and implement strategies to work more effectively and efficiently so as to achieve our ultimate goal of quality sexual reproductive health and rights for all.ere 

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Zambia Snakebite Project: Incidence and Access to Treatment

Snakebites are a major cause of death especially in the tropical world. Globally, it is estimated that snakebites lead to 138 000 deaths and over 400, 000 victims are left with disabilities. 70 % of snakebites in sub Saharan Africa remain unreported. Studies have shown that 49.7% to 68% initially seek treatment from traditional doctors. This lack of data on snakebites also extends to Zambia due to underreporting. As part of the process of assisting the Government of the Republic of Zambia and the Ministry of Health in Health Systems Strengthening process, Medicines Transparency Alliance Zambia carried out a survey in July 2018 titled " Zambia Snakebite Project: Incidence and Access to Treatment" in Luapula, Muchinga, North western and Northern provinces.
The Ministry of Health in conjunction with MeTA Zambia will therefore be disseminating the survey results this Friday the 3rf of August 2018 at the MeTA secretariat in Salama Park Lusaka. Snakebite experts from the Netherlands and Africa region will be in attendance to assist with information sharing.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v7w78y92qsdqgq6/MTD%20Short_1_FINAL_Vimeo720p.mp4?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v9tmzumbf8dqph8/AADPBoMrjcDqo1ub7ZdWCmh0a?dl=0

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Mr. Liyoka Liyoka presents at Annual Scientific Research Conference and Annual General Meeting

MeTA coordinator made a presentation on the 15th of June at the Annual scientific research conference and annual general meeting. This was to more than 200 delagates from across the country. This took place in Zambia's tourist capital and home to the fabulous Victoria Falls. In attendance was also the Provincial Minister for southern province, Dr. Edify Hamukale.

These were some of the reccomendations made in the 2017 Sexual reproductive health commodities study.

1. Improve the Supply Chain

2. Efficient and accurate delivery of srh commodities

3. Move to a "pull system" of srhc stock ordering

4. Provide continued staff training and increase number of trained staff

5.Provide client education and outreach

6. Government to fund and makes sexual reproductive health commodities affordable

7. Promotion of local pharmaceutical industry

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Choma Local MeTA Network engages Policy makers

The week starting 17 June 2018 was a dark one for the city of Choma as one of the great sons of the city Mr. Daniel Munkombwe had just passed on. Being in a class ( possibly the only one) to have served all post independence governments in Zambia, this was truly a remarkable man. He was the immediate past Minister of the Southern Province of which Choma is the provincial capital. The funeral was attended by the current president of Zambia, H.E Edgar Lungu, first president, Kenneth Kaunda, fourth president Rupiah Banda and other opposition leaders.

This was the same week that Choma Local MeTA Network visited various policy makers and influencers at district level. The purpose of these visits was to share the findings and recommendations of the 2017 Sexual and reproductive health commodities study. Some of the offices visted were the District Commisioner, The provinciaal minister, the mayor, the two MPS as well as the district health offices.

The mayor pledged to work with the local MeTA Network in making sure that issues of accessing affordable srh commodities were a priority. He requested that the team be part of their monthly meetings with the district health offices. Mean while the district health office agreed with the findings and recommendations in the study and they stated that now was the time for implementing solutions.

Access to affordable quality srh commodities for all will only become a reality if all stakeholders work together.

​Choma Mayor - Mr. Javan Simoloka in receipt of the 2017 SRHC policy brief from MeTA Zambia assistant coordinator Masautso Phiri

Masautso Phiri, MeTa Zambia assistant coordinator presenting to the Provincial Ministers Secretary

​Choma Mayor - Mr. Javan Simoloka in receipt of the 2017 SRHC policy brief from MeTA Zambia assistant coordinator Masautso Phiri

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MUMBWA LOCAL MeTA NETWORK AT URBAN CLINIC

The Mumbwa Local MeTA Network (LMN) organised its first Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) activity visiting the Urban Clinic in Mumbwa district. The LMN's visit to the urban clinic on 1 November 2017 had two objectives, namely, to interact with women of various age groups of child bearing age that visit the clinic for SRH services and to engage health personnel at the clinic to understand issues surrounding SRH services and what they offered at the institution.

The LMN interviewed clients and couples at the clinic to find out what various methods they use in family planning. The team interviewed a randomly selected group of women who came to seek contraceptive services and was assisted by the sister in charge at the clinic.

A number of contraceptive methods are being provided at Mumbwa urban clinic and they can be categorized by mode of operation, whether they are traditional or modern, and whether they are provider or user dependent.

The main methods of contraception used in family planning are oral contraception (combined pills, progesterone-only pills and emergency contraception pills), non-oral contraceptives (progesterone only injectable, contraceptive implant and the patch), barriers contraception (male condom and female condom), intrauterine devices (IUDs), male and female sterilization and natural family planning.

Under these categories the team found that Depo-Provera is the favorite contraceptive method used by many couples who access these services at the clinic. This was followed by

pills, then condoms, and finally natural family planning method.

The LMN team also found that condoms seemed to be regarded as the best method when the risks and benefits were considered because they were the only method that protected the users from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

As part of the first outcome over thirty (30) women accessing SRH services at the clinic were reached and engaged in discussion. The team, as its second outcome, also met management and health personnel at the clinic who gave the team some statistics of the clinic's activities.

The urban clinic, the LMN team was told, caters for a total population of 20,991 with 4,639 are aged between 15 – 49 and are women within the child bearing age group. They were also told that the institution has, as at November 2017, a record of 902 pregnant women and that about 875 deliveries were handled in the second and third quarter.

Evelyn and Gracious at work

Evelyn Sikuyuba, nurse with apron LMN member and Gracious Salungu, manager at Childfund and LMN member, talking to the sister in charge at the Urban Clinic in Mumbwa  

SRH services

Women attending the SRH services at the Mumbwa Urban Clinic
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Livingstone Local MeTA Network revamped

The city of Livingstone, lying 470km from Zambia's capital of Lusaka is a paradise away from home. Home to one of the wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls, this friendly and hospitable city also has its challenges. Being a border town and tourism capital of Zambia, issues of health such as lack of access to affordable health services like sexual and reproductive health are very real.

On the 16th of June, MeTA had a meeting at the Fairview Hotel to reconstitute the Livingstone local MeTA Network. The new team has representation from youth organisations, womens organisation, the media, health sector as well as the disabled. Presentations were made by communications officer Zindaba Ngwenyama, Assistant coordinator in charge of Civil society organisations Masautso Phiri and the National Co-ordiantor Liyoka Liyoka.

New Terms of reference as well as mandate, guidelines on policy advocacy and evidence on sexual reproductive health commodities ( access, availability and affordability) were given to the LMN.

Creating space for a strong civil society to effectively engage with the government of the Republic of Zambia, the private sector and other stakeholders accountable for health systems so as to deliver equitable accessible and high quality SRHR services to all through strengthened health systems is paramount. The Livingstone local MeTA Network is now well equipped with the necessary information to engage the local policy makers.

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MeTA Zambia attends 37th Annual

MeTA Zambia has been invited to the 37th Annual
Scientific Research Conference and Annual General Meeting

running from 14-16TH JUNE, 2018 at CHRISMAR HOTEL LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA. The Pharmaceutical Scientific Research Conference enables dissemination of current, original pharmaceutical research and practice that introduces new ideas, concepts and understanding in themes of;
Pharmaceutical Technology and Innovation
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Rational Use of Medicines
Pharmaceutical Practice and Policy

Amongst some of the interesting presentations made on day 1 are

1. Differentiated Service Selivery (DS)

2. Upholding Ideal Standards of Practice in Radiopharmacy – Initiatives by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Assisting its Member States

3. The Contribution of Vaccines to Public Health: Towards an Effective HIV Vaccine

Through the MeTA coordinator, Liyoka Liyoka, a presentaion will be made on day 2 on the 2017 Sexual and Reproductive Health Commodities study. With professionals in the pharmaceutical sector coming from all over Zambia and totalling almost 200 attendendants, this proves to be a brilliant platform to disseminate the 2017 SRHC study by META.


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Our Location

Medicines Research and Access Platform ( MedRAP)
Plot 24  Lechwe Park
Ibex Hill
Lusaka, Zambia
+260 977 820 640
Email: info@medrapzambia.org


 

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