The Ministry of Health has refuted reports that nurses at Minga Hospital in Petauke district are charging penalty fee on pregnant women who delay to visit the clinic during delivery.
Provincial Medical Officer, Kennedy Malama told Breeze News that health workers have no authority to charge penalty fee to pregnant women in any situation.
Dr. Malama has warned that the Ministry of Health will discipline any nurse found to be charging pregnant women.
Last week, some pregnant women in Petauke district complained of being charged a penalty fee of 10,000 Kwacha by nurses at Minga Hospital for delaying to go to the hospital when about to deliver.
The women said that the nurses advise them to be waiting from the hospital two months before delivery to avoid complications.
The Food Reserve Agency FRA in Eastern Province is confident of meeting the October 31st deadline for paying all farmers, who sold maize to the agency.
Regional Marketing Coordinator, Godfrey Munyoro says that the agency owes farmers 55 billion Kwacha, which will be paid within this week.
Mr. Munyoro told Breeze News that the agency was given directives to ensure that payment to all farmers is done and that there is no way they would go against this.
He says that the FRA headquarters in Lusaka has indicated that the 55 billion Kwacha will be sent to Eastern Province before Friday.
And Mr. Munyoro also confirmed that the marketing exercise will close on October 31st.
Eleven people have sustained serious injuries after the Isuzu Canter truck they were travelling in overturned on the Chipata/Chadiza road Sunday evening.
Chief Fire Brigade Officer, Fackson Mbewe says that the Fire Brigade received a report of the accident at about 19:05 hours and immediately rushed to the scene.
Mr. Mbewe says that the truck Registration Number ALD 3539, which was travelling to Kausiku village in Chief Maguya’s area overturned after the driver, Raphel Musoni lost control of the vehicle near Lutembwe bridge.
Meanwhile three Malawians have been detained by police in Chipata after they were found buying paraffin in containers.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Anderson Chengo says that Jeran, Patrick and William Mvula connived with a fuel attendant at Engeni Filling Station and bought 13 by 210 litres and 16 by 20 litres of paraffin which was to be smuggled to Malawi.
Mr. Chengo says that the three have been charged with an offence of transportation of petroleum products in unauthorized vessels.
Environmental health officers have threatened to close Lundazi Boarding School due to poor hygiene standards.
Breeze FM Staffer, Naomi Mwimba reports that the poor hygiene at the school is posing the possible outbreak of waterborne diseases.
A check in both boys and girls ablution blocks found that they are in a very dirty condition.
District Education Standards Officer, DESO Chiza Mtonga acknowledged the poor sanitation at the school.
Mr. Mtonga says that he held a meeting with environmental health officers asking them not to close the school because pupils are writing there exams.
He says that the matter will be resolved very soon.
Meanwhile Government officers from Lusaka and Chipata have shunned this year’s Zengani traditional ceremony of the Ngoni/Tumbuka people of Lundazi district.
This has disappointed Senior Chief Magodi, who expressed his feelings when Chasefu Member of Parliament, Chifumu Banda and Lundazi district commissioner, Janet Mvula paid a courtesy call on him at his old palace at Emusa village.
The chief says that he feels that he is not being recognized by government because this is not the first time that it is happening.
Chief Magodi says that government should have sent representatives from Lusaka or Chipata to attend the ceremony if top government officials are busy than sending government representatives from within Lundazi.
Meanwhile hundreds of people are attending the 10th Zengani traditional ceremony of the Ngoni/Tumbuka people of Lundazi district.
Chief Magodi explained that the aim of the ceremony is to unite both the Ngoni and Tumbuka people of Lundazi district.
The Food Reserve Agency, FRA is revising the system of paying farmers who sold maize to the agency in Eastern Province.
FRA Provincial Marketing Coordinator, Godfrey Munyoro says that this is to ensure that all farmers who sold maize at the beginning of the marketing exercise are paid immediately.
Mr. Munyoro told Breeze News that he has directed all depot managers to examine their books and pick out names of farmers who sold maize first.
He says that the move has been taken to address concerns from some farmers that FRA has paid farmers who sold maize later than those who sold earlier.
And Mr. Munyoro also revealed that government has allocated 53 billion Kwacha to Eastern Province to pay farmers who sold maize to FRA.
He says that the money, which is an addition to the 18 billion Kwacha released last week, will see Chipata getting 10 billion Kwacha.
Mr. Munyoro has assured all farmers that they will be paid but indicated that no farmer should visit the bank without getting clearance from the depot manager to avoid being disappointed.
Government has lifted the suspension slapped on Chipata Town Clerk, Golden Banda but demoted him to the position of council secretary for Mpulungu district council.
Government has also reinstated Finance Director, Julius Banda but transferred him to Choma Municipal Council in the same capacity.
Chipata Mayor, Goodson Thole confirmed the changes, which have been made through the Local Government Service Commission.
Mr. Thole also says that acting town clerk, Caroline Mphande who is director of administration has been promoted to position of council secretary for Milengi District Council.
And Kabwe Town Clerk, Ikan Chigangu is new town clerk for Chipata Municipal Council.
Mr. Banda, the former town clerk was suspended in December last year to pave way for investigations into misapplication of funds.
One of the matters investigated concerned allegations that Mr. Banda received allowances from the council despite being on a sponsored trip to Cameroun.
And Finance Director, Julius Banda suffered the same fate for approving the allowance payment to the town clerk.
Meanwhile Mr. Banda has accepted his demotion, stating that he is not the first person to be demoted on a job.
Mr. Banda told Breeze News that he has promised the Local Government Service Commission to turn Mpulungu District Council into the best working council in the country because he is a performer.
Government says it is receiving a lot of complaints about nurses’ negative attitude towards work.
Deputy Ministry of Health Christopher Mulenga revealed this during graduation of 168 nurses from Mwami, Chipata General and St. Francis nursing schools held at Mwami Adventist Hospital in Chipata today.
Mr. Mulenga has since called on the nurses to have a right attitude towards work.
And the deputy minister says that government is committed to ensuring that the shortage of human resource is reduced.
He says that this will be done through increasing the enrolment of students in nursing schools and supporting good learning environment.
Mr. Mulenga says that this is the reason why government has allocated 500 million Kwacha to the three nursing schools in Eastern Province.
And speaking during the same occasion, Provincial Medical Director, Kennedy Malama says the ministry in the province will focus on improving the quality of learning in nursing schools.
Dr. Malama says that this will enable graduating nurses to handle the disease burden in the province professionally.
Meanwhile Mwami Hospital Nursing School Acting Principal, Felani Tembo has appealed to government to assist the three nursing schools in the province with transport.
Ms. Tembo also told the deputy minister that the three schools need support in infrastructure development.
Tarring works on the Chipata/Lundazi road will not be completed according to schedule.
And Sable Construction Company has heaped the blame on Bicon Consultant whom it has accused of not paying about 10 billion Kwacha to enable it work on deviations.
Sable Construction Company Site Manager, Maksudar Raham told Breeze FM Staffer, Naomi Mwimba that the company is using its own money to buy building materials.
He complained that this has been a big challenge adding that the contract period for the works, which are supposed to be completed in January next year needs to be extended.
The site manager however, says that about 65 per cent of the works have been done so far.
And when contacted for comment, Bicon Site Engineer, Sekani Longwe says funds have delayed but that this is not the cause of delay for the works.
Mr. Longwe says that about 50 per cent from a total of 97 billion Kwacha of the whole contract has been paid to Sable Construction Company.
He charged that Sable Construction Company was to blame for the delay because it has been importing construction materials like bitumen and stones.
Mr. Longwe however, agreed with the contractor that about five more months would be needed to complete the tarring works on the road.
Poor regulation on imported fertilizer is impacting negatively on farmers.
This observation is from the Ministry of Agriculture in Eastern Province.
Acting Provincial Agricultural Coordinator, Kennedy Kanenga says that there is need to upgrade the regulation so that every new fertilizer coming into the country is tested before being given to farmers.
Mr. Kanenga told Breeze News that the regulation on imported fertilizer is weak compared to regulation on imported seed.
He was commenting on recent revelations that a named company supplied fake fertilizer to farmers.
And Mr. Kanenga has appealed to all agriculture companies to ensure that when they bring in new fertilizer, it is taken for testing at the Ministry of Agriculture.
He says that this will assist to prevent situations where farmers are given substandard farming inputs.
Government has been accused of going against the Maputo declaration over its decision to allocate 1.865 trillion Kwacha to the agriculture sector in the 2013 national budget.
Former Agriculture Minister, Eustakio Kazonga says that Zambia signed the Maputo protocol, which states that 10 per cent of the national budget should go towards agriculture.
Dr. Kazonga says that this means that government was supposed to allocate 3.22 trillion Kwacha instead of 1.865 trillion Kwacha.
He says that this anomaly means that there is little hope of improving the agriculture sector in the 2013 national budget.
Speaking to Breeze News, Dr. Kazonga also noted that the 500 billion Kwacha allocated to FISP, the Farmer Input Support Programme will not assist small scale farmers because government is talking about diversification.
He explained that government has indicated that it has included crops like Soybeans, Sorghum, rice and cotton under FISP but wondered if the 500 billion Kwacha would support all these crops.
Dr. Kazonga also pointed out it is misleading for government to tell Zambians that rice has been included in FISP because the crop has been under FISP for two years now.