Dr Holmes: JICA Collaboration Boosts Life-Saving Childhood Vaccine Access

Dr Charles Holmes, CIDRZ CEO, addresses dignitaries including Honourable Minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health and Japanese Ambassador at the JICA Handover Ceremony of Solar Vaccine Refrigerators, Lusaka, 15th October 2014

“It is a great privilege to be here representing CIDRZ – the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia – to witness and celebrate a momentous occasion as the Government of the Republic of Zambia accepts the handover of solar refrigerators from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA. These refrigerators will provide the vaccine cold chain storage that will enable life-saving vaccines to be available at rural health facilities.

JICA Solar Fridge HandoverFar right: CIDRZ CEO Dr Charles Holmes congratulating JICA at handover ceremony for Solar Vaccine Refrigerators. Present:  Japanese Ambassador Mr. Kiyoshi Koinuma, JICA Country Rep. Mr. Yoshihide Teranishi, Hon. Minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health, Mrs Emerine Kabanshi, Hon. Deputy Minister, Ingrid Mpande, UNICEF Rep. Mr. Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim, Lusaka District Medical Officer Dr Masumba Masaninga, Child Health Unit Directors and Provincial Health Officers

Worldwide, there is focus on the importance of delivering life-saving vaccines to all children. In May of 2011 Bill Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, addressed the World Health Assembly with an aggressive call-to-action to seize the opportunity of what he calls the “Decade of Vaccines.” Mr Gates described how achieving a few basic goals: eradication of polio,   building capable systems to deliver vaccines to every child, and making new vaccines available to all children around the world, “can save 4 million lives by 2015 and 10 million lives by 2020.”

The Government of the Republic of Zambia is also focused on introducing new vaccines into their routine immunisation programme, as well as to strengthen the national Expanded Programme on Immunisations. At a speech delivered in Livingstone this June, Honourable Minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health, Emerine Kabanshi said, “I am proud to inform you that we have recently introduced three life-saving infant vaccines to our national immunisation programme: pneumococcal vaccine, second dose measles vaccine, and the rotavirus vaccine. To achieve such an expansion of a national programme in a single year is a great achievement and we are now working hard, and allocating appropriate resources, to ensure that no Zambian child dies from preventable diseases by ensuring that the required cold chain infrastructure is in place, vaccines are ordered on time, and access is guaranteed – especially for the hard-to-reach families who invariably are at greatest risk.”

Ladies and gentlemen, CIDRZ is pleased to be a part of this celebration today.  Four years ago, we set out on a mission to contribute to the reduction in Zambian child deaths through a targeted preventive and control effort against diarrhoea. We worked with the Government to start the Programme for the Awareness and Elimination of Diarrhoea- a pilot demonstration project working through the Government to promote community awareness, to teach improved case management of diarrhoea in health facilities, and to introduce the rotavirus vaccine into the national immunisation programme. This work has been successful on many counts, and there is no doubt that hundreds of diarrhoea cases have been prevented. However these achievements were not done alone; they required strong commitment, collaboration and partnership across all sectors and stakeholders working in this area.

CIDRZ has been working alongside Government, JICA, UNICEF, W.H.O. and other key partners to mobilise resources, and to develop and implement plans to strengthen all aspects of the vaccine cold chain system—including embarking on a national Effective Vaccine Management assessment to look at storage capacity, temperature monitoring, buildings and equipment, maintenance, stock control, distribution and overall vaccine management.

But today, we are celebrating an achievement of an even greater initiative that also could not be done alone. I cannot emphasise enough the benefit that can take place when we work as a true unit. I urge everyone to emulate the model that the Zambian Government and its partners are demonstrating here today – a truly collaborative effort – Governments, donors, non-profits, international organisations, the private sector, academia, civil society and communities.

Minister Kabanshi, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, today JICA delivers to the country solar refrigerators to further bring a dream to fruition that every Zambian child will have access to life-saving vaccines. Thank you to JICA and to all who have helped in this important collaboration. It is important for us to identify what this celebration today is really all about—the children—the Zambian children who will gain access to vaccines and whose lives will be spared. We are eager to begin seeing the benefits and health impacts of this access to vaccines in our communities. Let us mark this day as an important step towards achieving this goal.

I thank you.

Dr. Charles B. Holmes, MD, MPH


CIDRZ Celebrates 1 Million New Sanitation Users in Kafue District!

On 24th July a celebration was held in Kafue’s Mupapa Village in Malundu Ward to celebrate the achievement of 1 million new sanitation users in Kafue District! Honourable Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing, Nicholas Banda, presented a certificate of Open Defecation Free (ODF) status to Headman Shakatwa of Mupapa Village. At the event, 15-year old Catherine Isam expressed her joy at finally having a latrine that provided privacy, and how shameful it was before when she and members of her household practiced open defecation. She encouraged other villages to emulate Mupapa’s achievement.

Mupapa Village Headman (3)

Mupapa Village Headman Shakwata receiving ODF certificate from Deputy Minister Banda – attached
Villagers such as Josephine Aisam and her family constructed a latrine and an effective and easy-to-use soap and water dispenser.

This milestone event is part of the Zambian Ministry of Local Government and Housing, UKAID, UNICEF, WaterAid Zambia and Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia support for the 3 Million People Sanitation Programme that is promoting improvement in community-wide sanitation in rural Zambia. This Community-Led Total Sanitation approach provides awareness to promote the end of open defecation through the action of the community members constructing latrines and handwashing stations supplied with soap or ash to use before eating and after using the toilet. After appropriate sensitisation, the community itself must truly take the lead in this accomplishment to attain Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) status in order to reduce diarrhoeal disease and improve general well-being of the community.

Mupapa is a small village with 22 households and a population of 231. The effort towards attaining Open Defecation Free (ODF) status was triggered by a community champion in August 2013; the village claimed to be ODF by November 2013; and this was verified in March 2014. Community members were ecstatic to be recognized as a model village and chosen to host the celebrations. It was also an honour for CIDRZ as Mupapa Village is under CIDRZ’s coordination and care.

CIDRZ Awarded Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

CIDRZ has been awarded a USD 4.76 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant in support of the Better Information for Health in Zambia study. Dr Charles Holmes, CIDRZ Chief Executive Officer and Dr Elvin Geng of the University of California – San Francisco are the overall co-Principal Investigators (PIs), Dr Izukanji Sikazwe, CIDRZ Deputy CEO is the lead local PI, and the study team includes multiple Zambian and other co-investigators.


The purpose of the ‘BetterInfo’ study is to systematically gain a better understanding of why some patients enrolled in antiretroviral treatment (ART) stay in care, while others are ‘lost’ from care. It is estimated that as many as 25-40% of patients in HIV care and treatment programmes are Lost-To-Follow-Up (LTFU). The ‘BetterInfo’ study will trace ART patients, learn of their outcomes, and ask questions about why they have that outcome. This information will enable the study team to more accurately estimate the treatment outcomes of patients who are lost from HIV care thereby gaining a better understanding of the percentage of patients who have chosen to disengage from ART care, those who have chosen to re-engage in ART care at a different facility, and those that have passed away. Understanding this information will allow health programmes and facilities to better meet the needs of ART patients so that they stay in care. The ‘BetterInfo’ study staff will use best practices when tracing ‘lost’ patients to protect privacy and confidentiality, and if a patient has stopped receiving treatment they will encourage them to resume ART care.

The ‘BetterInfo’ study will be conducted in 30 sites in Western, Southern, Lusaka and Eastern Provinces of Zambia over a 29-month period and will be able to provide more accurate estimates of HIV care patient outcomes at both clinic and provincial levels which will help the Zambian Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health to make informed decisions about HIV care service provision.

In addition to both Zambian and International research regulatory oversight, the ‘BetterInfo’ study will also be guided by a Zambian and International Advisory Committee of health and HIV experts comprising Dr Carol Phiri, Dr Peter Mwaba, and Dr Albert Mwango of the Government of the Republic of Zambia; Dr Jonas Mwale of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Zambia; Dr Virginia Bond of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Dr David Bangsberg of the Harvard School of Public Health; and Dr Bruce Agins Medical Director of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.

‘BetterInfo’ represents collaboration between multiple investigators from CIDRZ, the University of California – San Francisco, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

An integral component of the ‘BetterInfo’ study will be an in-depth process evaluation to enable the investigators to identify and understand the best implementation methods, and the resources required for implementation, so that the Ministry or other interested partners could repeat the exercise in a different setting, if desired. As per Gates Foundation grant requirements, ‘BetterInfo’ study results will be shared with the communities involved, the Government of Zambia, and other key stakeholders, as well as be provided as part of the Global Access Commitment.

Screen-and-Treat Cervical Cancer Prevention Programmes in Resource–Constrained Environments: A Manual for Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, and Managers

Cancer is the world’s leading cause of death, and among women in Africa cervical cancer is the most common malignancy and has the highest rate of cancer-related deaths.

With the support of the U.S. President’s Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, local governments and other international partnerships, the CIDRZ African Centre of Excellence for Women’s Cancer Control (ACEWCC) has developed a successful and effective programme to rapidly scale-up access to cervical cancer detection and treatment in Zambia, and within Africa.

The ACEWCC has designed this training manual to help healthcare providers develop and manage cervical cancer prevention programmes in their resource-constrained settings. Over 300 images accompany easy-to-read, comprehensive text covering cervical cancer epidemiology, clinical procedures and programme management.

The manual is accompanied by an eLearning course and interested trainees are encouraged to obtain clinical skills during a practicum at the ACEWCC in Lusaka, Zambia, as only qualified providers with practical training should offer clinical care. More information about the Training Manual, the eLearning course, and practicums can be found at the CIDRZ African Centre of Excellence for Women’s Cancer Control website www.acewcc.org

CIDRZ Plays Key Role in Successful 8th African Rotavirus Symposium


For the first time in Zambia, the 8th African Rotavirus Symposium (ARS) took place on 12-13th June in the Zambian tourism capital, Livingstone. This meeting was the largest symposium since inception attracting over 134 delegates representing 34 countries: 27 of which were African.

Under the theme ‘Rotavirus Landscape in Africa – Towards Prevention and Control’, leading global and African scientists academics, government immunisation programme officials and representatives from pharmaceutical companies met to discuss the achievements and challenges in the field of preventing deadly childhood diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus pathogen in Africa. Rotavirus causes the majority of diarrhoea in under-5 year olds and is a leading cause of death due to diarrhoea and dehydration.

CIDRZ played a key role as a local organizer of the event which was graced by the Honourable Minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health, Emerine Kabanshi, who gave the officially opening speech. The Hon. Minister congratulated CIDRZ for assisting the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health to successfully conduct the pilot introduction of rotavirus vaccine which led to the National rollout of the vaccine in November 2013. “Zambia recently introduced three lifesaving vaccines—pneumococcal, measles second dose, and rotavirus—into our National Immunization Program. My Ministry has made the political and financial commitment to ensure that no Zambian child dies from vaccine preventable diseases.”

During the two-day event, over 35 scientific presentations and posters were discussed with representation from Mali, Mozambique, Kenya, Sao Tome and Angola, Mauritius, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda and India with Deputy Director of Child Health, Dr Penelope Kalesha delivering Lessons Learnt from Rotavirus Vaccine in Zambia. Key leaders in the rotavirus field attended the symposium including Dr Roger Glass Associate Director of International Research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Dr Duncan Steel Senior Programme Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation; Dr Umesh Parashar Lead in the Division of Enteric Viruses Epidemiology Team of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Dr Jeffrey Mphahlele, Professor of Virology, University of Limpopo South Africa, Dr Jason Mwenda, WHO/AFRO  Regional Coordinator for Vaccine Disease Surveillance, Dr George Armah, Head of the West African Regional Rotavirus Reference Laboratory, Ghana, and Dr Roma Chilengi, Director of Primary Care and Health Systems Strengthening, Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ).

CIDRZ collaborates with MIT Sloan School of Management Groundwork Initiative for Global Health

CIDRZ recently hosted four graduate business/consultant students from the US-based MIT Sloan School of Management Groundwork Initiative for Global Health. http://groundwork.mit.edu

Their project was to explore management innovations and practices to improve healthcare delivery and specifically to identify ways to decrease patient wait times in the ART Pharmacy Department at the extremely busy Kanyama Health Centre, in the capital Lusaka. This clinic has over 10,000 registered patients on anti-retroviral therapy and sees from 200-300 ART patients per day.

The goal was to look at problems from the patient’s perspective, and to build solutions that could also be used in other clinics in Zambia. The main targets of the project were to find ways to shorten the length of time that patients have to wait at the clinic – currently averaging 4.5 hours, streamline logistic processes and improve staff morale.

The students collaborated with the CIDRZ and Lusaka District Pharmacy Department staff and by all accounts the project was a great success with a detailed report of easy to implement recommendations presented. All of the students have had prior experience consulting for large businesses and international organisations.

While in-country they were supervised by Helen B. Mulenga Head of the CIDRZ Pharmacy Dept., Nick Sze, Global Health Lab Teaching Assistant, Dr Anjali Sastry, senior lecturer in Management Science at MIT Sloan School of Management and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine; Kate Long, MScPH, Research and Projects Lead at MIT Sloan’s Global Health Lab; and Dr Lindi van Niekerk, Health Innovation Lead for the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town.

MIT in community

From L to R: Paul Meggs, Shriya Palekar, Sylvia Benavides, and Saurabh Sanghvi.

CIDRZ CEO Charles Holmes to address the 5th Annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Conference, May 10-12, in Washington D.C.

pp_HolmesAs a Centre of Excellence Leader , CIDRZ CEO Dr Charles Holmes has been invited to speak as part of the Accordia Global Health Foundation panel “Collaborating to Achieve Sustainable Impact: Africa’s Centers of Excellence in Global Health” at the 5th Annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference under the theme: “Universities 2.0: Advancing the Global Health Agenda in the Post-MDG Era.”
The panel will detail the important and unique role that Centers of Excellence in Health play in strengthening sub-Saharan African health systems, and how vital it is that the global community supports them through upfront investment, sustained support, and increased collaboration among a wide range of partners. http://2014cughconference.org/

Kalo Musukuma Awarded HIV Research Trust Grant

Kalo Musukuma, a CIDRZ Hepatitis study Laboratory Research Associate has been awarded an HIV Research Trust grant to support her training in HIV/Hepatitis B Virus virology under the mentorship of colleagues at the Infectious Diseases Institute of the University of Bern, Switzerland. Kalo will spend a few months learning special laboratory techniques specifically related to investigating the Hepatitis B virus and will bring this technical expertise back to Zambia.

Here is a photo of Kalo with one of the Hepatitis B study investigators, Dr Michael Vinikoor an Infectious Disease Specialist at CIDRZ.


Kaoma and mike


Visit   http://www.hivresearchtrust.org.uk/ to learn more

Dr Groesbeck Parham receives the Foundation of Gynecologic Oncology’s 2014 Humanitarianism and Volunteerism Award

The Foundation for Gynecologic Oncology presents this award to an individual for their exemplary local, national or international volunteer and outreach efforts in women’s cancer care, research or training.

As per the award letter: Dr Parham, “Your leadership in the CIDRZ Cervical Cancer Prevention Programme to expand cervical cancer screening throughout Zambia, as well as your extensive collaborative efforts to raise awareness of women’s health issues in sub-Saharan Africa, make you the ideal recipient. Congratulations on this honour and thank you for your selfless dedication to improving the lives in women throughout Zambia and beyond.”

Call for Applications: 2014 Global Health Corps Business Development Fellow Positions at CIDRZ

CIDRZ participates as a site for the Global Health Corps, an international programme for promising professionals in the early stages of their public health career. The emphasis on “paired” local and international trainees – a hallmark of the GHC programme – enhances the bi-directional exchange of knowledge and encourages future collaboration. GHC is building a community of committed leaders who share a common belief: Health is a human right. GHC Fellowships provide opportunities for talented young professionals from diverse backgrounds to work in positions of high impact in year-long, paid fellowship positions. Fellows engage in training, professional development and thoughtful community-building, and continue to draw upon their fellowship experience and the GHC alumni network as they build careers of lasting impact.

To date, Global Health Corps Fellows have worked closely with the CIDRZ Cervical Cancer Prevention Programme of Zambia, under expert research and public health mentorship. At this time GHC is accepting applications from qualified individuals for two Business Development Fellow positions to be attached to CIDRZ.

To see details about the American position, please go to: Z08-USA: Business Development Fellow: Women’s Cancer Control Services, CIDRZ, Zambia

To see details about the Zambian position, please go to: Z08-Int: Business Development Fellow: Women’s Cancer Control Services, CIDRZ, Zambia

For general information about the Global Health Corps Program, please go to http://ghcorps.org/