The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) is calling for increased funding towards public and community health awareness activities on COVID 19 to foster positive behavioural change towards the New Normal.
The Commission has observed low levels of compliance with Health Regulations and Presidential Directives on Coronavirus particularly in peri-urban and rural areas where there is misinformation and myths relating to COVID 19.
It is a source of grave concern that despite daily statistics of people testing positive for coronavirus, some people are still spreading false information that there is no coronavirus in Zambia and are claiming that the statistics on people testing positive are a fundraising venture. This kind of information is endangering the fundamental rights to health and life as it has the potential to contribute to lowering the guard against prevention by some people. It must, therefore, be urgently redressed through increased dissemination of correct information.
While the Commission commends the Government for allowing trading in markets and street vending during the outbreak of COVID 19 in order to promote socio-economic rights of individuals and families, it is equally concerned about the low levels of adherence to public health regulations and guidelines.
The Commission has observed that some traders and buyers in markets and on the streets were not maintaining social distancing, regularly washing and sanitising their hands and were no wearing face masks. Such low level of non-compliance to health regulations practices poses a serious risk and complication to fighting the prevention and spread of coronavirus. This is because in an event that there was a confirmed case of coronavirus, adequate contact tracing within the public markets and street vending value chain will be almost impossible.
The Commission therefore calls upon all marketeers and street venders to strictly adhere to the health regulations for their own, their family and customers’ public health safety. Above all, the Government must prioritise funding towards public health education and community awareness activities in order to enhance prevention and improve compliance with the Health Regulations and Presidential Directives on coronavirus.
Finally, the Commission commends the on-going capacity building of health workers and it is hoped that it will contribute to the reduction of the worrying cases of health workers contracting the virus.
Issued by:
Mweelwa Muleya

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The mission of the Human Rights Commission is to promote and protect human rights for all people in Zambia through investigations of human rights violations, rehabilitation of victims of human rights abuses, education of communities and advocacy for policy and legal changes influenced by evidence based research

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