Zambia: UN Happy With Increased Allocation to Health

UNITED Nations (UN) resident coordinator for Zambia Kanni Wagnaraja says Government's increased budgetary allocation to the ministries of Health and Education is a positive direction towards the realisation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

Ms Wagnaraja said increased funding to the two ministries was impressive.

"There are fundamental improvements in the two sectors and the increased funding is a rightful direction towards fostering quality health and education services.

She was speaking in Lusaka on Sunday evening when she featured on a live Muvi Television's programme dubbed 'The Assignment: MDGs',

In this year's national budget, Government has allocated KR5.6 billion (K5.6 trillion) to education sector which represents 17.6 per cent to the sector compared to KR4.8 million (K4.8 billion) in 2012.

The increased funding aims to provide quality education and skills training to children and youth.

She said First Lady Christine Kaseba's commitment to the fight against diseases such as cervical cancer among women was commendable and that UN would always support such efforts.

Dr Kaseba was recently awarded with a Global Leadership Award by Susan G Komen for the Care Foundation, an organisation dedicated to fighting cancer among women.

The award was in recognition of her contribution towards the fight against cervical and breast cancer.

Such efforts, Ms Wagnaraja said needed support from various stakeholders if MDG number six which advocated for combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases was to be realised by 2015.

She said Zambia had abundant natural resources which needed to be utilised and preserved well to help in fostering national development and subsequently improving people's livelihoods.

On MDG number three of promoting gender equality and empowering women, she said there was need for governments in Africa to ensure that more women were engaged in high decision making-positions.

She said more women should be given opportunities to serve in areas such as local authorities and Parliament while on Gender Based Violence, she called for punitive actions against perpetrators.

Ms Wagnaraja was impressed with the Government for making positive strides in realising MDG number seven of ensuring environmental sustainability.

She said Government's recent launch of the national tree planting exercise was a good direction to replacing massive cut down trees as the replanting exercise would help improve the environment.

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