LUSAKA — The United States officially assumed leadership of Zambia’s Health Sector Cooperating Partners during the Annual Consultative Meeting (ACM) held with the Ministry of Health on January 24, 2017. Over the next period, the U.S. Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will lead the coalition of international donors and local partners in working with the Zambian Government to chart a course toward the improvement of health services.
Each year, Health Cooperating Partners active in Zambia and officials from the Ministry of Health (MOH) convene the ACM, which serves as a starting point from which to evaluate health outcomes from the previous year and set priorities concerning technical and financial issues for the coming year.
“As Cooperating Partners, we will continue to press for ever greater budgets for health care, although we recognize the challenging budget environment for the government as a whole at this time,” said United States Ambassador to Zambia, Mr. Eric Schultz. “This makes it even more important that the budget is executed in a transparent fashion that ensures actual spending matches the budget plan, and reduces an over-reliance on donor support that is not sustainable over the longer term.”
Zambia’s Minister of Health, the Honorable Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, presided over the ACM event during which the British High Commissioner passed the baton of leadership to the United States. Presentations detailed the health challenges and accomplishments from the past year, and a roadmap for success laid out a path for progress in 2017. It was acknowledged that, after more than a decade of sustained effort and billions of dollars in aid, Zambia has the potential to become one of the first countries in Africa to achieve an AIDS-free generation.
During the meeting, the United States and other Cooperating Partners reaffirmed their commitment to Zambia, stressing that for gains in the health sector to be sustainable and reach all, the benefits from the country’s economic development must be inclusive. The meeting also highlighted that Zambia, under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, and with the collaboration of its partners, has seen a dramatic reduction in maternal, infant, and child mortality, including strong progress towards malaria elimination.