With support from PEPFAR and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnership, we were honoured to host a site visit to the Chainda South Clinic and Kamwala Health Centre Youth Friendly Rooms (YFR) with Dr James Hildreth, President of the Meharry Medical College and Dr Valerie Montgomery Rice, President of the Morehouse School of Medicine, both in the USA.
The purpose of the visit was to explore how these American Historically Black Colleges and University medical schools can become involved in PEPFAR and CDC-supported programmes in Zambia to specifically address the HIV epidemic amongst adolescents as these are high-risk populations for acquiring HIV and STD infections.
Drs Hildreth and Montgomery Rice are both educationalists and researchers and were very interested to learn more about the CIDRZ youth outreach programmes and how they offer HIV counseling and testing as well as sexual and reproductive health information to adolescents as well as encourage healthy social activities and academic engagement.
Vincent and Maxwell Mumba, trained Peer Educators explained what takes place at the Kamwala YFR, as well as during outreach programmes in communities and churches. “We can test as many as 200 youth during one outreach programme,” they explained.
Dr Montgomery Rice who is also Dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine remarked, “This adolescent programme is clearly impressive. Dr Hildreth and I will see how we can work with the programme to support their activities through an increased use of technology. We will also provide resources and support for career progression for the youth volunteers that are working under this programme.”
During their time in Lusaka the guests also had meetings with the Minister of Health, the Minister of Higher Education, Deans of the Health Sciences divisions at University of Zambia, and PEPFAR and CDC Representatives.