LUSAKA – The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Zambia) is celebrating 20 years of service in Zambia under the theme, Saving Lives through Partnership. CDC Zambia opened its offices on December 10, 2000 and over the last 20 years, it has worked closely with Government of the Republic of Zambia institutions including the Zambian Ministry of Health (MOH) and provincial health offices in Lusaka, Eastern, Western and Southern Provinces to build a robust national HIV/AIDS response and respond to urgent health concerns. CDC currently supports the salaries of 8,288 health workers in Zambia.
Other CDC partners include University Teaching Hospital, the Tropical Disease Research Center, the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), Catholic Relief Services, the University of Maryland, and the International Centre for Aids care and treatment Program (ICAP).
Through the support of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), CDC Zambia has strengthened public health capacity and built infrastructure necessary for a sustainable, high impact HIV response.
“For nearly two decades, the U.S. government has supported Zambia’s goal of reducing the impact of HIV and achieving an AIDS-free generation. When PEPFAR started in 2003, more than 70,000 Zambians were dying annually from HIV. Because of our strong partnership, this number has dropped to 17,000 in 2018,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. David Young. “While one death is one too many, the $4 billion in U.S. government assistance provided through PEPFAR has immensely contributed to Zambia’s progress against HIV. We are closer than ever to controlling the HIV epidemic.”
Main areas of strategic focus over the past 20 years have included HIV prevention, care, and treatment; tuberculosis (TB) prevention and management; public health workforce capacity strengthening through the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP); development of a Zambian National Public Health Institute; and health systems strengthening supporting surveillance, laboratory, and health information systems.
More recently CDC has been pivotal in the cholera, polio, and COVID-19 response. “Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Zambia this March, the U.S. government has continued to support the Zambian government with COVID- 19 response, including with surveillance, case management, health informatics, laboratory services and communications. Every day, CDC staff and partners are on the front lines of this response. Additionally, CDC has played a key role in assisting MOH planning and preparedness, readying the country to face emerging threats like Ebola, which has caused so much suffering in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. This not only helps to protect Zambians, but also ultimately helps to protect Americans, too,” notes U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires David Young.
CDC has now signed new five-year agreements with the MOH and the University Teaching Hospital worth K134 million ($6.7 million) and K156 million ($7.8 million) annually, respectively. These funds will help Zambia reach and sustain HIV epidemic control, eradicate tuberculosis, and strengthen the overall public health infrastructure including health information systems and laboratory services.