U.S. Government, Ministry of Health, and Columbia University Launch New Health Survey

Ndola — The U.S. Government, Zambian Ministry of Health, and U.S.-based Columbia University launched a groundbreaking survey:  the Zambia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZAMPHIA) on November 27, 2015 at the Levy Mwanawasa stadium.  The ZAMPHIA survey is a nationally representative, population-based HIV impact assessment that will commence in mid-December and is expected to run for a period of seven to eight months.  The survey aims to measure the burden of HIV and the impact of Zambia’s HIV prevention, care, and treatment services.  The results from the survey will act as a baseline benchmarking progress towards the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets and help to target programs and resources towards populations at greatest risk and most in need of services and to guide future investments.

ZAMPHIA is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and by the Government of the Republic of Zambia and led by ICAP at Columbia.  The Zambian Ministry of Health is implementing ZAMPHIA in partnership with the Central Statistical Office (CSO), Tropical Diseases Research Centre, and University of Zambia.  The primary objectives of ZAMPHIA are to estimate HIV incidence (new HIV infections) at a national level, and to estimate the provincial prevalence of suppressed HIV viral load in a nationally representative sample of adults.  ZAMPHIA will also estimate pediatric prevalence of HIV for the first time in Zambia.

Through PEPFAR, the U.S. Government is committed to supporting the implementation of HIV and AIDS activities in Zambia and in particular, this first HIV impact assessment.  Since PEPFAR began supporting the Zambian fight against HIV in 2004, the U.S. government has provided approximately $2.25 billion in assistance to the Government of the Republic of Zambia.  The ZAMPHIA survey will provide policy makers with information to better understand the relative impact of HIV at population level.  The ZAMPHIA survey will provide a comprehensive set of HIV and AIDS indicators that will inform HIV programing as Zambia strives to attain epidemic control and continue to work towards the goal of reaching an AIDS-free generation. Zambia’s success in combatting HIV is the result of a well-coordinated approach to the national response by government.  Both the Zambian and U.S. governments are excited about ZAMPHIA and their collaboration in the HIV response.

The ZAMPHIA initiative marks Zambia as the third African country to implement such a detailed population-based HIV impact assessment (PHIA) survey.  PHIA surveys will be implemented in 15-20 countries, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.  The implementation of ZAMPHIA will set a global example for how the next PHIA surveys will be carried out.

ZAMPHIA will complement the Zambia Demographic Health Survey and provide additional HIV-related data to inform policies and programs in Zambia.  ZAMPHIA will contribute to a more complete perspective on HIV in Zambia and the survey’s findings will help the MOH refine the national response to the epidemic.  ZAMPHIA is more than just a national survey; its findings will also help inform regional and global priorities for ending the HIV epidemic.

About 15,000 randomly selected households from across Zambia will be visited by ZAMPHIA field teams.  The teams will include nurses and interviewers.  Men, women, and children of all ages can participate in the survey, regardless of HIV status.  Consent will be obtained from the participants, including the parents of participating children, before completing a questionnaire and conducting the HIV test.  Handheld computers will be used to collect the information via a face-to-face interview.  Survey staff will provide free HIV counseling and return test results for HIV and syphilis to participants the same day and in the privacy and comfort of people’s homes.  Those who test positive for HIV or syphilis will be referred for care at the nearest MOH health facility.

ZAMPHIA is a national survey being run by the MOH in the interest of the nation and requires the support of everyone.  Maximum participation and cooperation by communities and the selected households will ensure the success of the survey.  ZAMPHIA field teams carrying MOH identification will visit only the randomly selected households in order to invite people to take part in the survey.  All men, women, and children in the household are encouraged to participate by responding to questions and getting tested.