White Ribbon Alliance members in Zambia are working towards pushing a Reproductive Health Policy through Parliament with an increase to the health budget allocation and reviewing current standards and facilities in the health sector. The alliance is working to strengthen community based networks to provide health information to girls and women.
Zambia First Lady, Mrs. Thandiwe Banda, opens ZWRASM Annual General Meeting
The Zambia Ministry of Health and many other stakeholders have convened several activities to address key maternal-newborn health issues. ZWRASM has been an important partner in these efforts. In April, for example, ZWRASM organized a Zambia Reduce Alive meeting with Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and DFID to discuss Challenges of Maternal and Child Health in Zambia. The meeting was meant for Members of Parliament and CSO’s interaction on Maternal Health in Zambia, but turned into an MoH and CSO interaction on MNCH. This was a very positive outcome as both the MoH and Parliament members had the opportunity to hear from CSOs about the issues directly affecting their communities.
First Lady Thandiwe Banda arrives at the AGM
Key partners have also been calling upon ZWRASM to address maternal health at various events or to be included in related activities:
- ZWRASM presented a paper to the Parliamentary Health & Social Welfare Committee on the status of the commitments on maternal health and the current status
- ZWRASM took part in petitioning the G8 Leaders through the embassies. The Italian Embassy and Canadian High Commission were presented with a petition regarding the need for more midwives and nurses to address maternal health challenges in developing countries
- The Alliance was invited to participate in the Ministry of Health 2008 Joint Annual Review, an exercise to assess the performance of the health sector in maternal-child health services, drugs and supplies, cold chain management and human resources
- ZWRASM’s Friday Nkhoma was asked to lead WRA representatives at the Civil Society Consultation of the Taskforce on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems held in Johannesburg, South Africa. This Taskforce was established at a UN event on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aims to identify the challenges and costs of strengthening health systems and new finance sources to help developing countries achieve the health MDGs. Alliances from several other WRA countries participated in this important meeting (Uganda, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Rwanda, Malawi, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Tanzania)
A few AGM participants, including Honorable Lazarus Chota, MP for Lubanseshi
consituency (far right) and Irene Banda, Vic-Chair, ZWRASM BOD (far left).
In June, ZWRASM convened an AGM to adopt the revised Constitution and to hold official Board elections. It was an exciting time as the First Lady, Mrs. Thandiwe Banda, who has accepted to be the ZWRASM Patron, officially opened the meeting with the MoH Permanent Secretary, Dr. Velepi Mtonga. The First Lady was inducted as Patron at the AGM closing ceremony. WRA partners also sponsored technical updates for members attending the meeting. The BOD election went very smoothly. Members campaigned for their candidates and elections were transparent and democratic. The newly-elected BOD members are:
- Mrs. Rosemary Kabwe, Chairperson
- Mrs. Irene Banda, Vice Chair
- Ms. Donna Vivio, Treasurer
- Mrs. Michelle Sinda, BOD Member
- Mrs. Felicia Sakala, BOD member
- Mr. Joseph Mwaba, BOD member
- Mr. Boziwell Mbozi , BOD member