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FACT SHEET: U.S. Government’s Response to COVID-19 in Zambia
April 23, 2020

Teams across the U.S. government, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of State, are working together worldwide on the response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by prioritizing programs and countries with the greatest need for assistance to have the greatest impact.  Below are details about the U.S. government’s assistance around the world and in Zambia.

  • The United States is proud to continue its long tradition as the world leader in the provision of health and humanitarian assistance to our allies and friends around the globe as they combat serious diseases like Ebola, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Currently, we are investing our technical expertise and resources to help lead the global response to COVID-19.
  • Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested nearly $4.9 billion (K88 billion) in the health of Zambian citizens, and currently spends nearly $500 million (K9 billion) per year to improve the health of children, women, and men across the country. These funds provide life-saving HIV treatment to more than 1.1 million Zambians through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), contributed to a 76 percent decline in malaria deaths since 2010 through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, and have dramatically improved the health of women and children over the past two decades through maternal and child health, family planning, and nutrition programs.
  • The U.S. government is developing a strategy to program the $2.4 billion that the U.S. Congress recently approved in supplemental appropriations for the global COVID-19 response.
  • In addition to these historic and ongoing commitments, the United States is contributing nearly $10 million (K180 million) in health assistance to help Zambia respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Through USAID, the U.S. government is providing more than $6 million (K108 million) to help prevent the spread of COVID through promotion of educational materials via radio, television and print media, and by strengthening laboratory and clinical systems to diagnose new cases and to treat those who get sick.
  • In collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, USAID is establishing infection prevention and control systems by improving water and sanitation services to enable Zambians to have access to clean water and to maintain good hygiene.
  • The U.S. government is working with the Zambian Ministry of Health, religious and traditional leaders, entertainers, and the private sector to mobilize the Zambian Partners against COVID-19 campaign, which promotes ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.
  • The U.S. government, through PEPFAR, is working with the Ministry of Health to make HIV treatment more accessible to those who need it.  We are building systems that allow people living with HIV to collect six months of anti-retroviral drugs at once, limiting their potential exposure to COVID-19 and protecting their health.
  • The United States is providing an additional $3 million (K54 million) in health assistance through U.S. CDC to Zambian partners, such as the Ministry of Health, the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI), and the University Teaching Hospital (UTH). Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, U.S. CDC technical and financial support has helped ZNPHI and the Ministry of Health establish COVID-19 surveillance in Zambia, develop guidance on isolation of persons with suspected COVID-19 infection and quarantine of persons with risk factors, and communicate best practices with the public and health care workers.
  • U.S. CDC also helped establish laboratory capacity for COVID-19 testing in Zambia.  Using the infrastructure it supported for influenza surveillance at UTH and for HIV and tuberculosis testing at the Tropical Disease Research Centre, U.S. CDC technical assistance converted that infrastructure to support COVID-19 testing and provided reagents and positive controls in testing procedures to validate machine processes, methods, and quality control for accurate results.  This assistance has ensured that Zambia is able to test and confirm cases.
  • U.S. CDC also supported COVID-specific training for healthcare workers, the establishment of a functional call center at the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit, contact tracing, and Ministry of Health training to bolster rapid public health preparedness and fill critical gaps in the system in Zambia.  On a daily basis, U.S. CDC personnel work directly with Ministry of Health counterparts to provide technical assistance and help with the response.