United States Supports Launch of Zambia National Public Health Institute

Lusaka. February 11, 2015.

LUSAKA – Honorable Minister of Health Dr. Joseph Kasonde launched the U.S. government-supported Zambia National Public Health Institute (NPHI) at a national stakeholder meeting on Wednesday, February 11 at the Intercontinental Hotel on Haile Selassie Road, Lusaka at 9:00AM. The NPHI will be a national-level unit that provides leadership and coordination for public health and will strengthen critical public health functions like disease detection and response. The Zambia NPHI is supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Zambia and in partnership with the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI).

The Government of the Republic of Zambia has identified the establishment of a Zambian NPHI in 2015 as a national priority for strengthening its public health system. A Zambian NPHI would coordinate priority public health functions from across health sectors, address critical capacity gaps, and ensure the translation of public health data into effective action to better prevent and control diseases. Discussing the importance of a Zambian NPHI, the Honorable Dr. Kasonde said, “The NPHI will help Zambia prepare for and respond to disease threats like Ebola and HIV, as well as better manage other health challenges such as malaria and vaccine-preventable diseases.”

The CDC serves as the NPHI in the United States and supports NPHI development in several other countries in Africa, including Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda, and South Africa. CDC-Zambia Director, Dr. Jim McAuley noted that “By bringing together core public health functions, the NPHI will allow health leaders to make better decisions more quickly, which translates into healthier, longer lives for the people of Zambia.”

Today’s meeting marked the launch of NPHI development in Zambia. The meeting served to garner official support from government leaders and stakeholders for development of a Zambian NPHI; build consensus on public health priorities during the first phase of Zambian NPHI development; and discuss the structure and governance of the Zambian NPHI. The meeting also paved the way for a follow-up meeting in two weeks to draft a strategic plan for the NPHI.