X. Detailed Recommendations

To the Government of Zambia and the Zambia National Assembly

To the President of the Republic of Zambia

  • Publicly denounce gender-based abuses, including gender-based violence and lack of enjoyment of property tights, and emphasize the harmful effect of these abuses on HIV treatment.

To the Zambia National Assembly

  • Ensure that as the draft constitution is finalized, provisions on equality before the law regardless of sex, and provisions prohibiting any law, culture, custom, or tradition that undermine the dignity, welfare, interest or status of women or men are retained in the final version.
  • Adopt specific legislation to prevent and remedy sexual and domestic violence.  This should include civil and criminal judicial remedies, and the provision of services to survivors.
  • Fully incorporate the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women into domestic law and amend all discriminatory provisions in the law accordingly.

To the Ministry of Justice and the Gender in Development Division

  • Accelerate efforts to review and transform discriminatory aspects of customary law.

To the Cabinet Committee on AIDS, the National AIDS Council, the Ministry of Health, and the Gender in Development Division  

  • Facilitate the establishment and implementation of programs in the healthcare system to address gender-based abuses, as follows:

  • Establish a multi-sectoral taskforce that would identify approaches to addressing gender-based abuses in health settings that are appropriate for Zambia. 

  • Integrate initiatives addressing gender-based abuses, especially gender-based violence, into ART and HIV programs. 

  • The Ministry of Health and the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia should continue their current efforts to expand clinics and clinic infrastructure to enable private discussions in adherence sessions before systematic screening for gender-based violence is introduced.

  • Ensure that HIV treatment adherence counselors integrate screening for and handling of gender-based violence in counseling, establish protocols on detecting and addressing gender-based violence, and provide continuous supervision and support for counselors to assist them in doing so.

  • Develop campaigns to fight prevalent myths through which HIV is seen as a disease of the “immoral” and “unfaithful.”

  • To the Ministry of Health and the Zambia Counseling Council

    • Ensure that institutions providing training for HIV counselors cover the issues of gender-based violence, women’s lack of enjoyment of property rights, and other gender-based abuses and their effect on treatment in training courses.

    To the Ministry of Health

    • Monitor and document the impact of gender-based abuses on ART in on-going research on ART in Zambia, and include gender-based abuses as indicators in existing monitoring databases, including the Continuity of Care Patient Tracking System and database developed by the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia.
    • Once the appropriate systems for detecting and addressing gender-based violence are in place, CIDRZ and the Ministry of Health should revise the adherence form used in ART centers to include questions on gender-based abuses.
    • Introduce appointment systems into clinics where such systems are not already in place, to reduce waiting time for HIV and ART patients. 
    • In collaboration with Zambian women’s organizations currently conducting research on gender-based abuses and HIV/AIDS, conduct or support research on the impact of gender-based abuses on women’s HIV treatment in rural areas of Zambia.

    To the Gender in Development Division

    • Develop a campaign that emphasizes women’s right to decide when, where, and how to seek health services, including access to HIV testing and treatment programs.
    • Continue efforts to sensitize Zambian communities on the harmful impacts and illegality of gender-based abuses, particularly property grabbing and gender-based violence.

    To the Ministry of Home Affairs

    • Ensure the provision of adequate resources and training for the Victim Support Unit (VSU) including vehicles, sexual crime kits, stationery, and appropriate training and supervision for all VSU officers.

    To the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Zambian Police

    • Ensure that more officers in the Victim Support Unit, investigators, prosecutors, legal aid providers, judges, and other court staff are trained in appropriate methods for handling cases of domestic and sexual abuse, including techniques for interviewing survivors, maintaining their privacy, referring them to health services and women’s organizations, and providing protection for survivors and witnesses.

    To the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Zambian Police, and the Central Statistics Office

    • In collaboration with women’s organizations, compile reliable and comprehensive national statistics on gender-based violence, including violence by intimate partners.  Statistics should include, among other information, data on the frequency of violence, rates of prosecution, and types of punishment.   
    • Undertake further research that evaluates the effectiveness of interventions such as the VSU.

    To The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services

    • Establish shelters and other relevant services for survivors of gender-based violence in all provinces, and provide additional funding for existing YWCA shelters.
    • Establish social housing units for women survivors of violence and other abuses.

    To the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health, and the Gender in Development Division

    • In collaboration with civil society organizations, establish more centers for coordinated response to sexual and gender-based violence in Lusaka, and launch similar projects in the other eight provinces.

    To Donors

    To the Office of the US Global AIDS Coordinator

    • Provide clearer information to the public on the amount of funds allocated to combating gender-based violence and women’s lack of enjoyment of property rights in Zambia.
    • Increase funding of programs that address gender-based violence in health facilities in Zambia, in line with USAID’s guidelines entitled Addressing Gender-based Violence through USAID’s Health Programs.
    • Fund civil society advocacy towards the enactment and implementation of a law on gender-based violence, improving the implementation of the Intestate Succession Act, and the law on division of property upon divorce.
    • Urge the Zambian government to eliminate constitutional provisions that sanction discrimination against women, including in the areas of divorce and inheritance under customary and personal laws.
    • Collaborate with and support women’s organizations in Zambia in addressing gender-based abuses as they affect women’s risk of HIV and access to treatment. 

    To the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, the Global Fund, and the Global Fund’s Zambia Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM)

    • The Global Fund should include a representative of women’s organizations on the Global Fund’s Zambia CCM.
    • Develop training materials for CCMs on ways in which women’s inequality undermines efforts to fight AIDS and on proven methods of integrating protection of women’s rights in HIV/AIDS programs, including in future proposals to the Global Fund. 
    • Design monitoring and evaluation components that detect abuses of women’s rights as part of the evaluation of AIDS programs.

    To the World Bank

    • Urge the Zambian government to use the funds available to the health sector through debt relief for upgrading health facilities and training healthcare providers to enable them to detect and address gender-based abuses.
    • Urge the Zambian government to implement poverty eradication programs incorporated in the Fifth National Development Plan in a way that would adequately target poverty among women in Zambia.

    To UN Agencies and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health

    • The United Nations Population Fund and United Nations Development Program in Zambia should expand their work on gender-based violence to address the role of domestic violence in hindering treatment roll-out.  In particular, UNFPA should support the health system’s response to gender-based violence.
    • The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health should investigate the link between gender-based abuses and women’s access to ART, particularly in Africa, and make recommendations to governments on how to address this link.

    To Regional and Global Actors

    To the Congress of the United States

    • Enact the Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act of 2007 (the PATHWAY Act of 2007) into law to remove the abstinence-until-marriage earmark for PEPFAR programs and ensure that HIV prevention programs are based on scientific evidence, good public health practice, and human rights principles.
    • Pass the African Health Capacity Investment Act of 2007, and ensure that Congress appropriates sufficient resources to build the capacity of the health workforce in Africa.

    To The Office of the US Global Aids Coordinator

    • Produce a report on women’s inheritance rights and what PEPFAR is doing to promote them, as is called for under the law that established PEPFAR. 

    To the Southern Africa Development Community

    • The heads of state of the SADC should adopt the Draft SADC Protocol on Gender and Development without delay.