CIDRZ Seconds Dr Sharon Kapambwe to Ministry of Health to Support Sustainable National Scale-up of Women’s Cancer Control Services

CEO Dr Charles Holmes is pleased to announce that CIDRZ Director of Women’s Cancer Control, Dr Sharon Kapambwe, is being seconded to the Ministry of Health (MOH) where she will continue to lead efforts to scale-up high quality cervical and breast cancer services and other key interventions at a National level. To date, with the support of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the U.S. President’s Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, Susan J. Komen and other key stakeholders, the CIDRZ Cervical Cancer Screening Programme of Zambia (CCPPZ) has screened almost 200,000 Zambian women, trained over 200 government providers, opened over 33 static screening clinics in government facilities in all ten Zambian provinces, initiated mobile sensitisation and screening clinics, operationalized 21 treatment clinics for complex cervical cancer lesions, and provided web-based consultations with experts for rural centers.

Dr Elizabeth Chizema, MOH Director of Disease Surveillance, Control and Research noted with pleasure that “Dr Kapambwe will be the centre of our efforts to continue expanding women’s cancer services throughout Zambia. We are most appreciative of the CIDRZ secondment of Dr Kapambwe to the MOH, with the support of the CDC, PEPFAR and PRRR. Her presence and CIDRZ’s ongoing support will enable us to transition to a truly sustainable national program of lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment for Zambian women.”

Dr Eric Goosby, former U.S. Global Ambassador, now United Nations Special Envoy on Tuberculosis and member of the CIDRZ Board of Directors, stated that “this type of tangible support for the Ministry of Health is central to building capacity and sustainability, and represents the true spirit of CIDRZ in Zambia.”

Dr Kapambwe received her MBChB degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Zambia, School of Medicine, and later earned a Master of Public Health degree with a focus on the development of health programmes in developing countries from the Royal Tropical Institute, Vrije University, Netherlands. She joined the CCPPZ in 2008 and for several years has served as Director. In addition to conducting research and contributing to peer-reviewed manuscript publications, she also served as the local Principal Investigator of the Cervical Cancer Research Capacity Training Initiative and co-Chaired the Zambian Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccination Demonstration project tackling one of the root causes of cervical cancer – infection with HPV. More recently she has been involved in the leadership of the important initiative to incorporate breast cancer screening and diagnosis – the second most common cancer in Zambian women – into the cervical cancer screening facilities.

With continued funding from CDC, PEPFAR, PRRR and other partners, the CIDRZ cervical and breast cancer team will continue to pursue a sustainable program of cervical, breast and other women’s cancer screening and treatment in Zambia. In addition to continued clinical and programmatic contributions, and working with co-investigators in the MOH, CIDRZ investigators are building a vital portfolio of innovative implementation science work in women’s cancer that will feed back into programs and improve women’s health outcomes.

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