The Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) has been awarded the Most Outstanding Research Institution in Zambia, during the 8th Health Research Conference and the 12th Annual HIV Technical Conference, whose themes “Breaking New Ground in Health Research: Moving from Results to Implementation ─ Without Leaving Anyone Behind” and “Sustaining the Momentum Towards HIV Epidemic Control,” respectively.
The two conferences were officially opened by the Hon. Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya at the Government Complex in Lusaka today.
CIDRZ Responding to Zambia’s Health Challenges
In awarding CIDRZ, Dr. Victor Mukonka, Scientific Committee Co-Chairperson said “CIDRZ, the largest independent health care research organisation in Zambia. The organisation has combined research with service delivery and is being recognized for its contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and diarrhea diseases. The institution runs a number of state-of-the-art laboratories and has conducted a lot of policy relevant research over the years. The institution is also involved in some key vaccine studies including the HIV vaccine trials in Zambia”.
“CIDRZ is committed to answering research questions relevant to improving health in Zambia. Its research aims to identify locally-relevant, culturally-acceptable, resource-appropriate, evidence-based interventions that would influence policy and thus raise healthcare service delivery in the public health sector,” Dr. Mukonka added.
Research into practice: Applying Research Findings to Resolving Health Challenges
And Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya said “this is a unique platform for leading scientists and researchers to present findings that will contribute to the development of the health sector in Zambia and beyond. Zambia is pursuing transformation in the health sector, pursuing universal health coverage. We are building health systems to deliver heath for all anchored on primary health care. For us to attain this, we have pitched research to adduce evidence to inform our transformation. This why today is a very important day for us as scientists and researchers to present the work that we have done in our various fields. Our work should go beyond the borders of this country and contribute to making Zambia the lead in the region as a centre of excellence in research and also a significant contributor to the global health agenda on research”.
Dr. Chilufya reiterated Zambia’s commitment to ensure HIV epidemic control.
“Zambia is firmly on tract to attain the fast track UNAIDS 90:90:90 targets. We have escalated our HIV/AIDS response to ensure we leave no one behind. Through the national AIDS strategic framework, we have put up mechanisms that have brought the community on board in building a coalition of partners from the non-governmental organisations and various leading partners into a team that will lead the escalated HIV/AIDS response. We put in policies to ensure the escalation towards these targets. Models such as the Lusaka ART Surge Campaign launched last year by the President of the Republic of Zambia Edgar Chagwa Lungu with support from the United States government have seen Lusaka increase its ART uptake to 86% from 70% within a year,” he added.
Don’t Leave Anyone Behind: Linking Rural Health Facilities to Specialists
During the event, Dr. Chilufya also launched the “Revitalising HIV Mentorship and STP ID Training through Tele-Echo.”
And speaking earlier, United States Ambassador to Zambia, Daniel Foote, said “I am delighted to be here to witness the launch of the clinical mentorship program and project Extension for Community Health Care Outputs (ECHO), a unique telemetry platform that connects remote clinical sites with central specialists. Unveiling project ECHO at this conference underscores the need to continuously innovate as we accelerate towards epidemic control”.