CIDRZ gives insights on Differentiated Service Delivery Models of care at Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia Annual Scientific Conference and General Meeting

Mr Muhau Mubiana, CIDRZ Pharmacist at the PSZ AGM

Health Systems Strengthening remains a critical component of the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), as the organisation continues to supplement the Zambia Government’s effort to provide quality health care services to all Zambians.

With support from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CIDRZ is among the key supporting partners at this year’s Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia Annual Scientific Conference and General Meeting held under the theme: Strong Pharmaceutical Systems Improving Public Health Outcomes in Livingstone.

The Conference has so far attracted 149 pharmacists, pharmacy technologists, exhibitors and guests from all over Zambia.

In line with the theme, CIDRZ has been working with the Ministry of Health to build capacities and strengthen pharmaceutical systems through staff mentorship, improved drug storage conditions, equipment support as well as implementation of differentiated service delivery models of care to ensure an efficient health service system.

CIDRZ Lusaka Province Pharmacist, Muhau Mubiana made a presentation on the five Differentiated Service Delivery (DSD) models that CIDRZ is implementing to address various challenges that patients encounter, and reduce the burden and strain on the local healthcare system.

Some of the AGM participants following the proceedings

These DSD models are being implemented in 49 health facilities in Lusaka, Western, Eastern and Southern Provinces and these “are Community Adherence Groups (CAGs) with  8,892enrolled patients, Urban Adherence Groups (UAGs) with 2,373 patients, Health Post/Fast track Dispensations models with 23,073 patients, Scholars’ Model  targeted at young patients aged 10-14 years has enrolled 349 patients and the Multi Month scripts model for patients receiving more than three month drug dispensations”, Mr Muhau said.

He added that there was need for a paradigm shift, where all stakeholders involved in the continuum of care especially pharmacy personnel, took ownership of public health activities and worked as a team to provide quality health services.

The Pharmaceutical Scientific Research Conference enables dissemination of current, original pharmaceutical research and practice that introduces new ideas, concepts and understanding of:

  • Pharmaceutical Technology and Innovation
  • Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Rational Use of Medicines
  • Pharmaceutical Supply Chains
  • Pharmaceutical Practice and Policy

Zambia STEPS Survey 2017: A Surveillance of Noncommunicable Disease Risk Factors

Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) continues to be an actively collaborating partner for Zambia’s Ministry of Health (MOH). Besides serving on various technical working groups, mentorship and fostering strong relationships with healthcare staff to leading-edge implementation science, qualitative research, clinical trials, health systems strengthening and capacity-building; CIDRZ has been a key partner on some of the research work that has generated high-quality evidence to inform policy aimed at strengthening local and international healthcare.

Notably so, CIDRZ collaborated with MOH, to conduct a STEPS survey of Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) risk factors in Zambia. This study was conducted from July to September 2017.

STEPS is a system for surveillance of NCD risk factors designed for implementation in low and middle income countries. It is used to gather information on risk factors to help plan programmes and interventions, collect standardized risk factor data to enable comparisons, provide an entry point for low and middle income countries to get started on NCD surveillance and build capacity in countries.

The Principal Investigator (PI) for the study was Dr Wilbroad Mutale from the University of Zambia (UNZA) while CIDRZ Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Roma Chilengi was a Co-PI of this population based survey, which target 4,302 adults aged 18 – 69.

Three steps were used in the survey to assess the different levels of risk factor:

Step One: collecting the socio-demographic and behavior information such as tobacco use, harmful alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet (low fruit and vegetable consumption and high salt intake) and physical inactivity.

Step Two: collecting physical measurements such as height, weight and blood pressure, and

Step Three: collecting biomedical measurements to assess blood glucose and cholesterol levels under.

Study results show that “currently 12.3% adults smoke tobacco, 27.7% consume alcohol, 34.7% not engaged in vigorous activity and 21% of women aged 30 to 49 years have screened for cervical cancer”.

The survey found that 24% adults were obese, 19% reporting prevalence of raised blood pressure and only 7.2% reporting having visited a dentist in 12 months.

The survey recommends among other things:

  • an increase of excise taxes and prices on tobacco products,
  • consistence of the Policy on alcohol with a commitment to general increase excise taxes on alcoholic beverages in Zambia and
  • the introduction and enforcement of laws to control salt amounts in food products being sold to the public.

In addition, the survey recommends wide public education and awareness for physical activity which supports physical activity champions targeted at encouraging women to increase physical exercises, cervical cancer awareness and community based awareness programmes, quick enactment of the Mental Health Bill to provide a legal framework for mental health interventions.

A repeat of the survey is planned to be conducted in 2022.

Read here for study design and results

CIDRZ Gets new Award: Mental Health Capacity Building Trial (CBT)

We are pleased to announce that CIDRZ has been given an award of a grant for a study “Evaluating Implementation Strategies to Scale-up Trans diagnostic Evidence-based Mental Health Care in Zambia”otherwise known as “Mental Health Capacity Building Trial (CBT).”

Mental Health CBT is an implementation science award from the National Institute of Mental Health at the United States National Institutes of Health (i.e., US government). This is a five year (2018 – 2023) project and whose Principal Investigator is Dr Izukanji Sikazwe with Dr Michael Vinikoor being the Co-Investigator.

During the life of the project, we will develop and test a technology-based training tool to increase capacity to provide mental health care in Zambia.

This is the first ever and largest project for CIDRZ in the field of mental health and will build on:

  1. CIDRZ knowledge of and experience working within the Zambian health system
  2. Track-record in training lay and professional health workers, and
  3. Capacity to conduct rigorous research.

The project team will focus on closing the gap in local Zambian expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems and boosts happiness by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviours, and thoughts. It focuses on solutions, encouraging patients to challenge distorted cognitions, and change destructive patterns of behaviour.

Zambian counselors who already provide a type of CBT called CETA (Common Elements Treatment Approach) will be trained to become expert trainers of CETA.

Mental health (which includes a broad array of conditions like trauma, anxiety, depression, and alcohol and drug abuse) is neglected in Zambia and expanding local capacity for treatment is a priority to improve the health and well-being of the Zambian people. Historically there have been inadequate local experts to train local counselors in evidence-based CBT techniques like CETA. If the pool of local expert trainers Is expanded, those experts can then train and supervise local counselors, which could help scale-up the capacity to tackle these problems within the health system.


CIDRZ donates 31 fridges to Lusaka Province health facilities

Storage of drugs in a fridge that does not function efficiently in a clinic can be a challenge. It is for this reason that CIDRZ, with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and its partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) donated 31 fridges to selected ART pharmacies in Lusaka province .

Dr Consity Mwale, Lusaka Province Medical Director

Lusaka Provincial Medical Director Dr Consity Mwale said

“this donation has come at the right time when we have been working on our budgets to find resources to buy fridges for our health facilities. It will help reduce costs and improve on drug potency for paediatric formulations. As you maybe aware, the province is implementing the Lusaka Surge Campaign that was launched in December 2017 by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and its important that drugs are stored properly if we are to meet targets for the campaigns”.


“Thank you to CIDRZ for your continued support to government as we know that this donation is not the only support you have rendered. CIDRZ has also been instrument in building capacities of our health providers in all health facilities you are carrying out your work and that is commendable”.

Ng’ombe Sister-In-Charge

Ng’ombe and Garden clinics are among the health facilities to have benefited from the donation. The Sister-In-Charge at Ng’ombe Clinic Mrs. Banda said

“the coming of the fridge will not only be beneficial to ART patients but even other patients whose drugs need to be stored in the fridge like diabetes patients. The community at large will greatly benefit because this facility is for the community”.

Meanwhile, Garden Clinic Sister-In-Charge Mrs. Sikazwe said she had a challenge of mixing other drugs in one fridge before the new fridge came along, thanks to CIDRZ for coming to their aid.

CIDRZ shares research results at first 2018 MoH Scientific Research Meeting

Research in any country is vital especially in finding lasting solutions to health needs and more so is it more effective if its done in close partnership with the government and the communities as addressing health challenges becomes much easier and faster.

Through continued generous support from funders such as the United States (U.S) National Institutes of Health (NIH), Division of AIDS (DAIDS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other partners that include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Aeras, TB REACH, Global Alliance for TB Drug Development; CIDRZ has been conducting locally relevant research aimed at improving the quality of health care in Zambia.

By working in close collaboration the Zambian Ministry of Health, CIDRZ aims to be a permanent resource to the government by answering locally relevant health questions using latest methodologies to generate high quality evidence to inform policy.

It in this regard that CIDRZ participates in the National Health Research Authority (NHRA) organized scientific research meetings, a national platform for dissemination of research information and research results.

The first 2018 scientific meeting was held at the UTH Paediatric Center of Excellence where CIDRZ shared research results from three projects namely:

  • A Rapid Qualitative Assessment Before, During and After the 2nd-dose OCV Campaign in Bauleni, Chawama and Kanyama compounds in Lusaka;
  • Costing and Cost Effectiveness Analysis of the Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) Campaign in Lusaka, Zambia in 2016, and
  • Recounting the numbers: Policy proposal to Reinforce Routine HIV Testing and Treatment among children in Zambia

 “There is need for all stakeholders involved in research to support research work if we are to improve the quality of health care in Zambia. We as CIDRZ look forward to listening to research work being done by other researchers as this meeting provides a platform to learn from each other,” CIDRZ CEO Dr Izukanji Sikazwe said.

Dr Sikazwe further added “The presentations CIDRZ is making today on cholera is driven by past outbreaks and through support from donors, we are looking at possibilities of how future outbreaks could be averted. One particular such study CIDRZ is carrying out is a cholera vaccine trial in the Lukanga Swamps. Another presentation will look at HIV in children and how to improve HIV interventions among children”.

Dr Anjali Sharma presented research findings on A rapid qualitative assessment before, during and after
the second-dose OCV campaign in Bauleni, Chawama and Kanyama compounds in Lusaka, a project that was aimed at  understanding community and healthcare worker perspectives and experience regarding both the reactive and preemptive OCV campaigns.

Taniya Tembo, presented on Costing Cholera Illness, Vaccine Delivery and Vaccination Campaigns in Zambia while Dr Mwanza Wa Mwanza presented on Routine HIV Testing and Treatment for Children and how the intervention can increase testing update for children.