Commenting on the transition that is effective January 2017, CIDRZ Board Chair, Mr Bradford Machila stated, “we celebrate the extraordinary efforts and successes of Dr Charles Holmes during his four years of leadership of CIDRZ. He, along with Dr Izukanji Sikazwe and their dedicated team have transformed the organisation into a well-managed, high performing, and sustainable contributor to improvements in health in Zambia, and a model partner to the Government of the Republic of Zambia. They have built new partnerships and strengthened trust with all levels of government, the University of Zambia, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and all of our donors in a way that reflects Dr Holmes’ contributions as a leader, diplomat and scientist. Dr Sikazwe has served as Deputy for nearly four years, contributing directly to many of the gains we have made, and has emerged from a competitive recruitment process as an outstanding choice to carry our progress forward and chart new avenues for CIDRZ to improve the health of Zambians.”
Dr Izukanji Sikazwe is an infectious disease physician, HIV programme expert, and clinical researcher whose work has been funded by the US National Institutes of Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organization. She has served as Deputy CEO since joining CIDRZ in 2013. Prior to that she served as an HIV Technical and Policy expert within the University of Maryland programme in Zambia, and was seconded for two years to provide technical assistance within the National Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) Programme of Zambia. She is an active member of multiple government Technical Working Groups, a valued mentor and educator of medical trainees and Master-level students at the UNZA School of Medicine, and practices clinical medicine at the Adult Infectious Disease Centre of Excellence at the University Teaching Hospital. She graduated with a MBChB degree from the UNZA School of Medicine and completed internship at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka. Dr Sikazwe completed Internal Medicine residency and Infectious Disease fellowship at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore and the University of Maryland respectively, and holds a Master of Public Health degree from Michigan State University.
CIDRZ Board Member, Dr Kevin Marsh, Professor of Tropical Medicine at Oxford University UK, and Founding Director of the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, added, “the Board of Directors is incredibly pleased to welcome Dr Sikazwe into the CEO role at CIDRZ. She has proven herself in every realm of leadership, medicine and public health, and will be a superb leader for CIDRZ in the years to come. Dr Holmes has led brilliantly over the past four years and has built a track record of innovative programmes and science, including the development and funding of large interdisciplinary research teams conducting studies that will continue to shape the health system in Zambia for decades to come.”
Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa added, “on behalf of CAPRISA, I congratulate CIDRZ on its achievements in the past few years under Dr Holmes and wish Dr Sikazwe every success. I have no doubt that CIDRZ is in good hands, as Dr Sikazwe is an impressive scientist and a strong research leader, who has in past been involved in advising CAPRISA on its research.”
Mr Kenly Sikwese, Coordinator of the African Community Advisory Board (AFROCAB), concurred, “I am grateful to my friend and colleague Dr Holmes for his years of service leading CIDRZ. Together with Dr Sikazwe they have made major improvements in the lives of those living with HIV in Zambia. I am excited to see this work continue under Dr Sikazwe, the first Zambian leader of CIDRZ.”
Dr Holmes and his family will be returning to the US, where he a faculty member of Johns Hopkins University. He has also been elected to serve on the CIDRZ Board of Directors. “It has been an honour to lead CIDRZ through a period of immense change and growth, and to have had the opportunity to strengthen the organisation so it can focus on achieving its core mission. CIDRZ is now a shining example of what a local organisation can be: deeply grounded in the communities in which we serve, aligned with national priorities, and dedicated to developing the next generation of African health and research leaders. I have enormous respect for Dr Sikazwe’s leadership capacity and her technical abilities, and I know I join our donors and partners in Zambia and around the world in my confidence that CIDRZ will continue to grow and thrive. I look forward to continuing to support CIDRZ in the years to come,” Dr Holmes stated.