Tag Archives: PEPFAR

Meeting Key US Players in Zambia’s National Health #ZambiaHealth

After spending nearly a week and a half in Zambia during the second half of July with nine other new media journalists we concluded our final day with an official visit to the United States Embassy in Lusaka. We met with representatives from USAID, PEPFAR, the Peace Corps, and the CDC. We also met with the US Ambassador to the Republic of Zambia, Mark. C. Storella. The visit provided a capstone to all of the site visits and panel discussions we had reporting from Zambia. It also provided a tightly wrapped conclusion to the information we learned on the ground not only in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, but also in some of the rural areas in Zambia’s Southern Province.

Ambassador to the Republic of Zambia, Mark Storella
Ambassador to the Republic of Zambia, Mark Storella

Dr. Lawrence Marum, the country Director for the CDC in Zambia mentioned that for two decades HIV transformed countries and now the best prevention is through early detection. “We have gone through a transformation I didn’t think I would see in my lifetime,” Marum said. “Five hundred thousand people are alive today in Zambia and on ARVs who otherwise would be dead.”

Marum also underscored the skepticism many in the west had in the early 1990s about African doctors’ ability to prescribe ARVs. Today thousands of Zambian doctors can prescribe ARVs which shows a significant sustainability and capacity change.

In Zambia, through work with these four key US partners as well as through the Department of Defense, Zambia is creating a climate of increased access to HIV testing, education, and counseling, PMTCT, access to ARVs, cervical cancer screening, voluntary male circumcision, and the reduction of maternal mortality. In fact, Zambia is one of three countries that is on track to eliminate PMTCT (Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission) and could create an AIDS-free generation. Zambia is also working diligently to rampantly reduce the maternal mortality rate of 591 per 100,000 live births. Compare that to 4 per 100,000 live births in the United States. Working in select districts in Zambia, the maternal mortality is dropping significantly. It’s only a matter if the interventions can be scaled.

Under the leadership of Ambassador Storella, Zambia is gradually becoming an active part in financing countrywide health services and is moving to accept country ownership of health programs. This is a process to be sure. Zambian officials have responded and have increased budget allocations for HIV/AIDS detection and treatment.

“Zambia is moving in the right direction,” Storella said.

In fact, Zambia has increased their health budget by 45 percent. Storella realizes that there will come a point where despite budgets health programs will have to be sustainable. “We cannot just provide treatment,” he said. “We have to ramp up health systems.”

One of the main goals of Ambassador Storella is to ensure that US-funded programs produce measurable results and that he shows good stewardship of the American taxpayer’s money. “Diseases don’t know borders,” Storella said. “We are the front line of protecting the American people and the world.”

I reported about HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria as an International Reporting Project Zambia fellow.

George W. Bush Praises Zambia’s HIV/ AIDS National Efforts

In less than a month I will join nine other new media journalists on a reporting trip to Zambia as an International Reporting Zambia Fellow. We will be charged with learning more about HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis and their affects on the  Zambian citizens, report on the problems and Zambia’s national and community-led efforts to combat them. Leading up to, during, and after our trip to Zambia at the end of July I will report on these communicable diseases and how they acutely affect women, children, and families. You can read all of my content on the ZAMBIA tag.


This week George W. Bush will visit Zambia and Tanzania along with former first lady Laura Bush. They will be in Africa at the same time as the Obamas this week who will visit Tanzania, Senegal, and  South Africa. Bush will be visiting Zambia to refurbish a health clinic used primarily to diagnose and treat cervical and breast cancer through the Bush Institute’s Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative. Michelle Obama is slated to join Laura Bush for the Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa event ad forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for African first ladies.

Last week Bush praised Zambia for its ongoing efforts to get a handle on the HIV/AIDS crisis in the country that ranks tenth in the highest HIV rates in the world even though Zambia showed a greater then 50 percent decrease in HIV infection since 2001 according to UNAIDS latest global report on HIV/AIDS released in November 2012.  Additionally, according to the same UNAIDS report, Zambia also recorded a greater than 50 percent reduction in its HIV death rate from 2001 – 2011.

Lusaka Times reports that Bush told Zambia’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Palan Mulonda, “I am happy with the Zambian government for its commitment to the fight HIV/AIDS as evident by the budgetary allocation to the health sector.” Between 2009 – 2011 Zambia has received $153 million dollars through, the United States President’s Partnership Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Based on data gleaned from the Global Fund 450,000 Zambians are currently on ARTs. To date, 76% of the $582 million of grants is dedicated to HIV/ AIDS.  It is also important to note the Global Fund grant performance for Zambia has hovered around adequate as opposed to exceeding or meeting expectations. The grants that have experienced some of the most success have been given to Churches Health Association of Zambia’s Program to Combat HIV/AIDS and United Nations Development Programme, Zambia, both with an A1 scored in grant performance.

At a glance, 11 percent of Zambia’s adults have HIV/AIDS according to UNICEF.  460,000 women and 170,000 children  in Zambia have HIV/AIDS.  The country is moving rapidly to prevent increased HIV/AIDS especially as the country experiences a youth bulge and many young girls have early sex.

You can follow all of my coverage about Zambia at mombloggersforsocialgood.com/tag/zambia.

Photo: United Nations