From BRIAN MALAMA in New York, USA
FIRST Lady Christine Kaseba has been honoured as the first special envoy of electronic health (e-health) by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Dr Kaseba was conferred with the honour during a colourful ceremony at the Yale Club here on Sunday.
ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Toure said Dr Kasebaâ€™s recognition is as a result of her significant contribution to raising awareness of the potential technology for health in low resource settings.
â€œTechnology will contribute towards leveraging information communication technologies as a strategic game changer in achieving the World Health Organisationâ€™s universal health coverage goal,â€ Dr Toure said.
He said Dr Kaseba has set a very fine example and this is why the ITU decided to honour her.
Dr Toure said Dr Kaseba has been a powerful and vocal advocate for health at regional and global events, particularly promoting women empowerment and health.
Dr Toure also said Dr Kasebaâ€™s right vision is an example of how technology can accelerate achievement of health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He said Zambia is an excellent example following its rapid growth of ICTs from 2.2 percent mobile teledensity 10 years ago to 71.5 percent currently.
And Dr Kaseba told dignitaries from various countries and interest groups that Zambia is committed to using ICTs in facilitating expert health care to rural communities.
She said mobile phone technology has been useful in taking pictures of cancer screening and sending images to consultants at referral hospitals for analysis.
Dr Kaseba also said the Zambian government is rolling out installation and connection of mobile phone communications towers in all chiefdoms.
She said she is thrilled and privileged to represent the ITU as an e-Health envoy.
Dr Kaseba also asked member states to vote for Zambia on the ITU Council at the Plenipotentiary Conference to be held in South Korea in October this year.
And Dr Kaseba is concerned that sale of huge tracts of land to foreign conglomerates by some African governments at the expense of local people is detrimental to food security on the continent.
â€œMuch as it is a delicate balance to create wealth for its economies and produce food for the rest of the world, African leaders and governments ought to tread carefully,â€ Dr Kaseba said.
Addressing the third advisory board meeting of EAT,Â an international organisation that deals with healthy eating at the New York Academy of Sciences here on Sunday, Dr Kaseba said African leaders are just worsening risks of food insecurityÂ by grabbing land from local people.
EAT is a food forum non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Sweden, which aims to fight obesity and bad eating habits, globally
â€œThe opportunities in Africa today are huge, we have big land which is attracting international interests from big conglomerates but the downturn is that many Governments are selling this land at the expense of the locals,â€ Dr Kaseba said
She also said EAT advisory board and research work has revealed that many people in society are taking too much carbohydrates as opposed to wholemeal grains or cereal as healthy alternative foods.
â€œIn many homes today, people eat too much processed food, breakfast meal instead of roller meal which is more nutritious,â€ Dr Kaseba said.
She explained that many Zambian families risk suffering from obesity because they have now graduated from low to medium income and they have resorted to eating more meats than natural or wholegrain foods.
EAT advisory board executive director and chairman Johan Rockstrom called for collective representation among southern African countries at the world forum which will be held next year in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil.
â€œWe think these are very key elements you have raised as a representative of southern Africa. equity matters between the corporate world and local farmers or people in Southern Africa require a large forum and debate,â€ Prof Rockstrom said.
From BRIAN MALAMA in New York, USA