Whenever there is an outbreak of a new infectious disease, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, we are quick to identify the animal or species that hosted the virus. However, we pay little attention to the role people who deal in illegal wildlife products play in causing the “species jump” and spreading Zoonotic diseases.
Poachers illegally hunt in national parks, game management areas and private game farms. As a result, they are always fearful of being spotted by someone or being caught by village scouts or wildlife police officers. This means they have to do their business in a hurry, ignoring safety measures. Tracking, capturing, handling, sometimes basic field butchering, and transporting of the carcass involves contact with potentially infected meat. Butchering (opening, cutting, dressing, and preparing the carcass) is obviously high risk for bloodborne pathogens.
“Poachers are the first contact of wildlife associated zoonotic diseases, as they mostly butcher the animals in the most inhumane manner, exposing themselves to infectious agents”, says Dr. Jackson Katampi, who is Senior Veterinary Officer at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife – DNPW. “Once they return to their communities, they become carriers and might transmit the pathogens to susceptible individuals”, he adds.
According to Dr. Katampi, there is an increased risk of spreading infectious diseases when illegal wildlife products like bushmeat exchange hands, from poachers to sellers and finally to consumers. “Poachers sell wildlife products that have not undergone any inspection by veterinarians. This significantly increases the risk of them distributing infections.” We must therefore recognize that people who handle illegal wildlife products, that is poachers, traffickers and local sellers, are as dangerous to public health as their illegal products.
Apart from Covid-19, which has devastated global health systems and economies, Dr. Katampi identifies two local zoonotic disease outbreaks that are linked to improper handling of wildlife. “There are human anthrax cases that result from consumption of wildlife products, like hippo meat in the Eastern Province. Another example is rabies in the Kafue ecosystem, which is coming from domestic dogs being used illegally to hunt in the Kafue national park.”
His caution to members of the public is threefold, “Avoid buying bushmeat or any wildlife products from illegal or unverified sources, only buy from sources approved by DNPW and report any suspicious trade in wildlife related products.”
About 60% of all known human infectious diseases are zoonotic and transfer from host animals to humans through direct contact with wildlife or through consumption of infected wildlife products like bushmeat. Without the human factor, often poachers and illegal bushmeat traders, many zoonotic disease outbreaks in humans are preventable.
Zambian student arrested in Russia on ‘Nazism’ charges for twerking at war memorial
A female student has been arrested in Russia for allegedly “rehabilitating Nazism” by twerking in front of a war memorial.
The 21-year-old — identified by local media as Zambian national Rebecca Ziba — was detained after she posted a video of herself on Instagram.
In the footage — posted alongside a joking caption — she can be seen dancing next to a World War II memorial in Khanty-Mansiysk.
Russian investigators have described her actions as “obscene” and “insulting” and have charged her under Part 4 of Art. 354.1 of the Criminal Code, which accuses a person of “rehabilitating nazism”.
The regional Investigative Committee said in a statement that the video of Ziba dancing had been posted on social media “accompanied by an offensive inscription”.
The student faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 3 million roubles (€34,430) if found guilty of “desecrating a symbol of Russian military glory”.
The Memorial of Glory in Khanty-Mansiysk is dedicated to soldiers who died during the “Great Patriotic War” against Nazi Germany.
The Russian Investigative Committee also published a video of Rebecca Ziba sitting in what appears to be an interrogation room, where she confesses and apologises for her actions.
No Zambian trucks were torched in South Africa, says Amb. Major General Jackson Miti (Rtd)
ZAMBIA’S High Commissioner to South Africa Major General Jackson Miti says no Zambian trucks were torched in the recent spike of violent protests against foreign drivers in that country
This is according to a press statement issued by Mrs Naomi Nyawali, First Secretary Press and Public Relations at the Zambia High Commission in South Africa.
General Miti said speculations circulating on various media platforms that four trucks belonging to Zambian drivers were torched are not true.
He said during this period of violent protests, Zambian truck drivers were advised to park their trucks until the situation normalized.
General Miti said the Mission in Pretoria was making frantic efforts in ensuring the safety of Zambian drivers together with their properties
He re-echoed his advice to Zambian drivers traveling to and from South Africa to be vigilant on the roads for their safety.
General Miti has further advised the Zambian media and the public to get accurate updates on the situation from the Mission or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to avoid being given fake news
South Africa has recently experienced an eruption of violent protests against foreign truck drivers by local drivers, the situation which has seen about 30 foreign trucks burnt in some parts of the country, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal province.
Watch the Current Affair with Roxy – Episode 2
In case you missed it, The Current Affair with Roxy episode 2, aired on Mwebantu TV on the 8th of October, 2020.
Topic: Health care system in Zambia – AFFORDABILITY and ACCESSIBILITY
THE CURRENT AFFAIR is an online TV governance program whose main objective is to seek for accountability, and social justice from duty bearers. The programme draws experts from the corporate world, the civil society organizations(CSOs) and government who seat on the discussion table to provide answers in the interest of members of the public.
Panel discussion features: Mr Nick Mulwanda Simfukwe – Senior Health Promotions officer Ministry of health, Dr. Aaron Mujajati Health Specialist, Mr. Mubiana Muyangwa- Director of Programmes WaterAid Zambia.
Every Thursday at 19:30hrs live on Mwebantu.
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