LUSAKA – On January 23, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Michael Gonzales joined Director General of the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) Professor Roma Chilengi to officially open the new ZNPHI Public Health Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Lusaka. Secretary Yellen also hailed a new five-year cooperative agreement between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ZNPHI. During their remarks, Secretary Yellen and Professor Chilengi noted that ZNPHI’s success reflects the strong U.S.-Zambia partnership in health and its essential role in national and regional health security. Strengthening ZNPHI’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to national and regional disease threats is an important economic investment for both the United States and Zambia.Since 2015, the United States through CDC has invested over $13 million (nearly 242 million kwacha) in funding and has provided extensive technical support to help establish and support ZNPHI. CDC has also provided substantial funding and technical assistance to support development of the national laboratory network, health information system, disease surveillance programs, and the Field Epidemiology Training Program, which trains disease detectives. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) also supports non-governmental organizations to implement COVID-19 vaccination efforts, risk communication, and contribute to control of zoonotic diseases under ZNPHI’s leadership.
ZNPHI’s work protecting Zambia’s health security is a testament to Zambia’s leadership in health and showcases the long-standing U.S.-Zambia partnership in investing in healthy populations and bolstering resilience to health shocks. In partnership with Africa CDC, ZNPHI also plays a role supporting pandemic preparedness in the 10 countries of the southern Africa region.
During the official opening of the new ZNPHI EOC, Secretary Yellen heard first-hand from a graduate of Zambia’s prestigious Field Epidemiology Training Program about the importance of a well-trained health workforce in keeping Zambians healthy. In an exchange with Professor Chilengi, the two leaders discussed ways the United States and Zambia can partner together to strengthen ZNPHI. Professor Chilenga said in his remarks, “ZNPHI is proud of our growth and how we continue to improve our abilities to safeguard the health of the Zambian people. We have seen how epidemics can disrupt economic productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize and appreciate the role that the U.S. government through CDC has played in supporting our growth, and the potential to do even more together going forward.”
Secretary Yellen and Ambassador Gonzales re-emphasized U.S. support for ZNPHI and expressed appreciation for ZNPHI’s remarkable daily efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to emerging health threats to keep Zambia, the region, and the world healthier and more prosperous.