24th September was an important day for CIDRZ as we celebrated the achievement of handing over the refurbished Chawama laboratory infrastructure to the government of Zambia at a colourful event attended by key Ministry and partner VIPs.
The funding for the refurbished lab was generously provided by the US government through the PEPFAR/CDC transition to local ownership HIV Integration to Local Ownership (HILO) project.
The lab is now one of the largest in the district and able to perform all required testing for new anti-retroviral (ART) program clients on-site rather than transporting specimens to another lab incurring delays in clinicians receiving important test results and clients receiving the ART care they require. CIDRZ Lab Technical Mentors will continue to assist with training and systems development until all lab personnel have the requisite skills and a steady supply of reagents so that they may take over the testing for all clients enrolled in the HIV Care and Treatment program at Chawama.
Speeches were delivered by the District Medical Officer Dr Gideon Zulu, CIDRZ CEO Dr Charles Holmes, CDC Country Director Dr Jim McAuley, and Provincial Clinical Care Specialist Dr Wajirovya Chilambo, all followed by a vote of thanks by the Chawama Nursing Officer in charge.
There was drumming, there was dancing, speeches, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of the refurbished lab.