Zambian Healthworkers for Social Responsibility

[Posted July 11, 2017]

About the zambian affiliate

Alarmed by the devastating effects of firearms proliferation, Zambian Healthworkers for Social Responsibility (ZHSR) has been a committed affiliate in both the small arms and light weapons (SALW) and landmine campaigns, making significant contributions on national, regional, and international levels.

Members of ZHSR consistently participate in workshops, seminars, and conferences all around the world. In July 2005, ZHSR’s Dr. Robert Mtonga represented ZHSR at the Second Biennial Meeting of States (SBMS) for the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms in New York City. Chosen to participate on an NGO panel that addressed the entire delegate assembly, he presented information about the human dimension of SALW violence and narrated an IPPNW One Bullet Story as it was shown on a giant screen in the assembly hall. He also presented at the IANSA Public Health Network’s panel presentation and evening reception side event entitled "Aiming for Prevention: Public Health and the UN Programme of Action." Dr. Mtonga serves as the medical field director for the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) Public

Health Network, which he helped to found, and which was launched at the BMS.

In April 2005, Dr. Mtonga attended the Arms Trade Treaty conference held in Nairobi, Kenya. Coordinating with colleagues from Kenya, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and El Salvador, he brought to the attention of the nearly 200 participating delegates from over 75 countries the public health aspect of firearm violence.

ZHSR is also the Landmine Monitor researcher for Zambia; acting as such, ZHSR collects data annually on landmine incidents and related issues in Zambia, and also participated in the recent Landmines Summit in Nairobi.

Dr. Mtonga has been especially involved in writing and publishing on the effects of SALW. He has contributed a chapter to the recently-published Hide and Seek: Taking Account of Small Arms in Southern Africa, edited by Chandré Gould and Guy Lamb.

Regularly called upon to contribute his expertise, Dr. Mtonga was recently requested by The Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy (CENFAD) at Temple University to participate in a survey of experts on SALW proliferation and its effects on development.

ZHSR remains dedicated to the collection of SALW data. ZHSR recently worked with Gun-Free South Africa and the Center for Conflict Resolution of South Africa on a project researching the proliferation of firearms in the Southern African development community. ZHSR has also developed a One Bullet Story to contribute to IPPNW’s “Aiming for Prevention” campaign.  In addition, ZHSR is working with Small Arms Survey, an independent research project located at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, profiling some aspects of the costs of small arms injuries to the health system in Zambia.

This year, ZHSR physicians and medical students will participate in a multinational hospital research pilot study that will entail collecting data on small arms injuries from hospitals in 8-10 countries and will allow for comparative analysis.

The Zambian Healthworkers for Social Responsibility was founded in 1986 as the Zambian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (ZPPNW). The organization's original objectives were to lend a public health voice to the call for total nuclear abolition, arguing plausibly that there would be no meaningful medical response to a global nuclear explosion. ZPPNW formed after a few Zambian physicians came into contact with Dr. Richard Muigai of IPPNW-Kenya in 1985, shortly after IPPNW won its Nobel Peace Prize. Compelled by the mission and mandate of IPPNW and encouraged by Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, these physicians sensed the importance of joining the campaign against nuclear weapons. Soon after its formation, ZPPNW was affiliated to IPPNW. In March 1992, ZPPNW changed its name to the Zambian Healthworkers for Social Responsibility. This alteration represented the Zambian physicians' belief that other health workers besides physicians and medical students should be involved in the struggle for peace, and also symbolized the importance of addressing a wider spectrum of issues.

How can locals get involved with the affiliate today?

Local people can get involved in by contacting the affiliate directly: robertmtonga "at"