Lusaka, Zambia—United States Ambassador to the Republic of Zambia, Eric Schultz, visited Ndola on April 4 as part of an America Days program, which is part of the United States’ engagement with Zambians outside of the capital city. During his visit, Ambassador Schultz participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a Zambian Ministry of Defense health facility funded by the U.S. government. He also met beneficiaries of services at other U.S.-funded health program facilities and introduced two American Paralympian medal winners who are in the country to conduct training for coaches who work with athletes with physical and developmental disabilities.
The Ambassador’s visit was an opportunity to showcase the important work that the United States is undertaking with the Zambian government to improve health services. The United States is Zambia’s largest bilateral assistance partner; most of the assistance contributes to Zambia’s health sector. To date, Zambia has received over $3 billion from the U.S. government, through the U.S. President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), to support its national HIV response.
While in Ndola, Ambassador Schultz toured a laboratory and pharmacy supported by the U.S.-funded Zambia Prevention, Care and Treatment (ZPCT IIB) activity at the Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital. Managed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with funding from U.S. PEPFAR, U.S. ZPCT IIB is a $207 million, eight-year activity launched in 2009. The U.S.-funded activity works in partnership with the Ministry of Health in six of Zambia’s 10 provinces to initiate, scale up, and strengthen a comprehensive package of HIV/AIDS services, including testing and counseling, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, clinical care, voluntary medical male circumcision, and Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART).
Zambia has come a long way in its HIV response since U.S. PEPFAR started in Zambia in 2004: HIV prevalence has decreased from 14.3 percent among 15-49 year olds according to the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey, to 11.6 percent according to the U.S.-funded Zambia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZAMPHIA) released in December 2016. With the support of the United States, more than 700,000 Zambians are on life-saving ART, and more than two million Zambians are tested for HIV each year. Nearly 100 percent of pregnant women in Zambia have access to prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission services as a result of the U.S. PEPFAR program.
Through U.S. PEPFAR and USAID, the United States government supports Zambia in strengthening its public health system at the national, provincial, and community levels. In collaboration with the Zambian Ministry of Health, USAID’s activities focus on increasing the quality of health care and changing attitudes and behaviors, specifically in maternal and child health, family planning, and the prevention and treatment of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
During his visit to Ndola, the Ambassador also officially re-opened the Maternity Block, Pharmacy, Laboratory, and Mothers’ Waiting Shelter at the Kalewa Barracks in Ndola, which was recently upgraded with a United States contribution of $950,000. To date, 87 such infrastructure projects have been constructed with $31,000,000 in funding from the United States; construction on these projects have been undertaken in partnership with the Ministries of Defense, Health, Home Affairs, and Education.
Also during his visit, Ambassador Schultz paid courtesy calls on the Copperbelt Provincial Minister and the Mayor of Ndola, and rounded out his visit with a visit to the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, where two American Sports Envoys, Anjali Forber-Pratt and Joe LeMar, who are both medal-winning American Paralympians, were conducting demonstrations for athletes with disabilities and training for coaches.