Eighteen pupils have fallen pregnant and dropped out of school between January and March this year in Chadiza district.
Chadiza District Education Board Secretary Misozi Mwenya has described the development as worrying because the number of female pupils dropping out of school due to pregnancies is on the increase.
Mrs. Mwenya says that government is putting so much emphasis on educating the girl child as evidenced by the implementation of the re-entry policy where a girl child goes back to school after delivery.
She also expressed disappointment over some parents who marry off their children at a tender age instead of taking them to school.
Mrs. Mwenya appealed to the parents to encourage their children to concentrate on education in order to be responsible citizens in future.
She was speaking during the Women Farmers Forum organised by Chadiza District Farmers Association.
Meanwhile Chadiza Women Farmers Forum Chairperson Ruth Banda has called on government to consider constructing a girl’s boarding Secondary School in the district.
Mrs Banda says that a girl’s boarding school will help to prevent child marriages and teenage pregnancies.
She also stated that issues of GBV and early marriages remain a major challenge in the district adding that government should not stop applying strong measures against culprits.
The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction CSPR has alleged that some contractors who have abandoned government projects are political cadres.
CSPR Advocacy and Programme Coordinator, Maxson Nkhoma has further charged that his organisation has information that some ministers own some of the construction companies, which have abandoned projects.
He says that it is disappointing that the government has become a victim of its own bitter pill on the construction sector by awarding construction jobs to certain Zambian contractors based on partisan politics and not capacity to do the work.
Mr. Nkhoma says that CSPR is worried with how government has handled the projects involving the construction of Chikando Secondary School and a lecture theatre at St. Francis Mission Hospital.
But Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo has described the allegation from CSPR as unfair.
Mr. Kasolo says that although some construction companies could be owned by ministers, the process of selecting contractors is transparent.
He also indicated that the project involving a lecture theatre at St. Francis Mission Hospital has been normalised with works progressing well.
Mr. Kasolo also explained that he has assigned Chipata District Commissioner, Kalunga Zulu to carry out a proper investigation on why the project for Chikando Secondary School has stalled because it might be that government has not paid the contractor.
The Ministry of Health has bemoaned the low number of Pediatric Anti-Retroviral Therapy, ART enrolment in Eastern Province.
Acting Provincial Health Director, Jairos Mulambya, says that there is need to ensure that more HIV positive children are put on treatment.
Dr. Mulambya says that although there are a number of children that are HIV positive, most of them have not been enrolled for treatment.
He was speaking during the fourth quarter integrated technical review meeting in Chipata.
And Senior Health Information Officer, Ovost Chooya, attributed the low enrolment of HIV positive children, to late receipt of Deep Brain Stimulation, DBS results caused by non-availability of re-agents and supplies.
Mr. Chooya says that the Provincial Health Office engaged Medical Stores Limited, which has now seen a steady supply of logistics in the province.
He however, noted that Pediatric ART enrolment was still low but that it was expected to improve.
Mr. Chooya also noted that the inconsistent availability of contraceptives and HIV testing kits, which had hit all districts in the province last year, was due to weak supervision in pharmaceutical services and lack of knowledge on completing the ordering tools among health facilities.
The Food Reserve Agency FRA has cut by half the number of satellite depots that it will use to buy maize in Chadiza district this marketing season.
Chadiza District Commissioner, George Phiri says that the agency has reduced the depots from 22 to 11 due to low number of maize purchased last year.
Mr. Phiri revealed this during a meeting for women farmers in Chadiza yesterday.
He explained that some satellite depots did not record any maize purchase last year because some farmers opted to sale their maize to private buyers.
The district commissioner says that government spent a lot of money on FRA workers, who never recorded any maize purchase in their depots.
He says that only depots that managed to buy some maize will be maintained.
And Mr. Phiri has encouraged women to take a leading role in farming business.
He says that government is ready to support women who have positive mind in farming adding that it will ensure that they have access to land.