Special event highlights efforts to create AIDS-free generation in Zambia
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — Five years of progress and the launch of a new project in the fight against HIV in Zambia was celebrated today at a special event in Lusaka, Zambia. The event was hosted by FHI 360, the U.S.-based human development organization. More than 100 Zambian health care professionals and government officials, representatives of UN organizations and other stakeholders gathered to mark the conclusion of the five-year Zambia Prevention, Care and Treatment Partnership (ZPCT II) project and the launch of the new 14-month ZPCT II Bridge initiative, which will continue and expand the support that has been provided to the Government of Zambia’s prevention care and treatment program in Central, Copperbelt, Luapula, Muchinga, Northern and Northwestern provinces. The ZPCT II Bridge (ZPCT IIB) project is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
“For more than a decade, USAID and President Obama’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief have demonstrated their firm commitment to helping the people and government of Zambia combat HIV,” said Dr. Michael Welsh, FHI 360’s Country Director in Zambia and ZPCT IIB Chief of Party. “FHI 360 and its partners have been privileged to share our expertise in the area of HIV prevention, care and treatment and extend our assistance on the ground. ZPCT II and ZPCT IIB demonstrate the United States Government’s unwavering commitment to bring this continuum of care to communities in Zambia and move Zambia and this continent closer to an AIDS-free generation.”
“Success for this USAID-supported program is not only about the numbers of people provided with services,” notes USAID/Zambia Deputy Mission Director Patrick Diskin. “It was, and remains, the impact of changing people’s lives, ensuring that people with HIV or AIDS live in dignity, and knowing that we worked in close partnership with the Zambian government to prevent transmission of HIV.”
During ZPCT II, FHI 360 and its local and international partners worked closely with the Government of the Republic of Zambia to scale up and strengthen the national health system by maximizing access, equity, quality and sustainability in the delivery of comprehensive HIV/AIDS services.
Since its launch in 2009, ZPCT II has supported HIV/AIDS service delivery in 400 public and more than 30 private health care facilities in the country’s six provinces. As a result of the project’s efforts, more than 3 million Zambians received HIV counseling and testing, and more than 83,000 HIV-infected pregnant women received antiretroviral prophylaxis, crucial in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Among other significant project results are the promotion of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services, community mobilization aimed at increasing awareness of the benefits of male circumcision and the launch of mobile circumcision services. ZPCT II helped expand Zambian HIV counseling and testing services by training over 4,000 health care workers and community volunteers and broadening the entry points for testing by integrating counseling and testing into other clinical services.
As part of the new ZPCT II Bridge initiative, FHI 360 and its core partners — CARE, Management Sciences for Health, Chainama College of Health Sciences and the Churches Health Association of Zambia — will continue to support the Government of the Republic of Zambia’s HIV/AIDS services in Central, Copperbelt, Luapula, Muchinga and Northwestern provinces, with an emphasis on expanding access to high-impact interventions, including antiretroviral therapy, the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission and voluntary male circumcision services.