FACT SHEET: U.S. Government’s Response to COVID-19 in Zambia

LUSAKA — The United States has continued to demonstrate its global leadership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, recently committing an additional K230 billion ($11 billion) to respond to the threat worldwide.  Since the start of the pandemic in Zambia, the U.S. government, through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided over K500 million ($24 million) in support of Zambia’s efforts to combat COVID-19.  Every day, U.S. government agencies work directly with the Zambian government and other partners across health, education, and other sectors to protect public health and save lives.

Support Vaccinations:

  • The U.S. government, through USAID and CDC, has committed funding and critical technical and logistical support to the Ministry of Health to assist with planning, coordination, and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for Zambians.

Establish and Strengthen Testing Capacity:

  • In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. government moved quickly to help establish laboratory testing for COVID-19 in Zambia. Using the infrastructure CDC has supported for influenza surveillance and HIV and tuberculosis testing at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and Tropical Disease Research Center, CDC and USAID have provided technical assistance, quality controls, reagents, and other testing commodities to enable accurate COVID-19 results and high levels of testing throughout the pandemic.

Empower Health Care Workers:

  • In partnership with the Ministry of Health, USAID, CDC, and DOD supported and trained health care workers to treat COVID-19, provided personal protective equipment to keep them safe, and assisted with temporary human resource surge capacity.
  • USAID and CDC health experts leveraged the U.S. government-supported tele-mentoring platform, Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) to provide high quality training and mentorship to the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI), Ministry of Health staff, and public and private health clinics in Zambia’s ten provinces.

Support Medical Treatment:

  • Through CDC, USAID, and DOD, the U.S. government provided critically needed medical supplies and equipment, including oxygen, pulse oximeters, personal protective equipment, life-saving medications, and other equipment. Support provided through PEPFAR helped meet the critical COVID-19 response needs of people living with HIV and health care workers.
  • Through PEPFAR, the U.S. government worked with the Ministry of Health to establish systems allowing people living with HIV to collect six months of anti-retroviral drugs at once, limiting their potential exposure to COVID-19.

Strengthen Surveillance Capacity:

  • Through CDC, USAID, and Zambian partners such as the Ministry of Health, ZNPHI, and UTH, the U.S. government helped establish a functional call center at the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit, develop standard operation procedures and guidance on screening, testing and isolation of persons with suspected COVID-19 infection, and supported contact tracing, home-based care, and quarantine procedures.
  • Through CDC, the U.S. government is helping to strengthen the field epidemiology capacity and outbreak response and surveillance system at district and provincial levels.

Advocate and Educate to Prevent the Spread:

  • The U.S. government worked with the Zambian Ministry of Health, religious and traditional leaders, entertainers, and the private sector to mobilize the Zambian Partners against COVID-19 (ZPAC-19) campaign, which promoted ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.
  • Through USAID, the U.S. government printed over 600,000 COVID-19 prevention leaflets, brochures, and posters for traditional leaders to communicate COVID-19 prevention messages across all ten of Zambia’s provinces.

Generate Local Data to Inform Zambia’s Response:

  • Through CDC, the U.S. government supported studies to identify new COVID-19 variants and deepen health responders’ understanding of COVID-19 transmission within Zambian communities and among health care workers.

Expand Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services:

  • Through USAID and CDC, the U.S. government established infection prevention and control systems in health facilities and communities by improving water and sanitation services, including supporting water utility companies to mitigate COVID-19 impacts and continue providing a safe water supply.

Support Students and Teachers:

  • Through USAID, the U.S. government helped the Ministry of General Education adapt literacy programming for a radio audience while schools remained closed, providing instruction for young learners and distance learning for teacher training.

Support Local Authorities

  • Through USAID, the U.S. government increased the resilience and preparedness of local government authorities, supporting a national center of experts that customized USAID pandemic guidance and best practices for Zambian conditions, provided on-call support to district officials across the nation, and funded outreach including radio public service messages on health safety measures in markets and other public settings.

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