“As we celebrate this day and in an effort of not leaving inmates behind by 2030, the following statistics are worth noting though not conclusive, 2451 inmates are on antiretroviral therapy, 166 inmates are on TB treatment and 90% reduction in morbidity. We thank our cooperating partners such as CIDRZ for supporting this event and call upon all cooperating partners to continue with this collaboration if we are to end HIV/AIDS by 2030 without leaving the correctional community behind,” said Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) Commissioner General Percy Chato.
This was during the ZCS commemoration of World AIDS Day at the Lusaka Central Correctional Facility.
“I wish to thank partners such as CIDRZ and those not mentioned here for supporting this event. our casual observation is that there is a decrease of HIV/AIDS among inmates and staff. However, we cannot rely on observations only. Therefore there is need for another scientific survey to determine the current prevalence rate in prisons as data from the 2013 survey could have been overtaken by time. We call upon all cooperating partners to conduct a survey in correctional facilities to depict a true picture of what is happening on the ground.”
Since its inception in 2001, CIDRZ has implemented 6 different projects in correctional facilities in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Zambia. These include:
- TB REACH 1 that was an implementations science programme that had both research and provision of TB/HIV interventions;
- Zambia Prisons Health Systems Strengthening (ZaPHSS) project whose goal was developing and building capacity of the prison health system that is able to plan, manage and implement improved health services in Zambian correctional facilities; This was with support from the European Union
- Placement of equipment such as GeneXpert and refurbishment of Mazabuka prisons health facility under the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Centers for Disease Control CDC supported under the HIV Integration into Local Ownership (HILO) project;
- Treatment as Prevention (TasP);
- CONTINUUM study and
- The US government support Achieving HIV Epidemic Control (ACHIEVE) which is a five year project support by PEPFAR through the CDC partnership.
CIDRZ provided support for sustained TB diagnosis through support of back-up lab supplies, support of X-ray services and on-going training and mentorship of prison health centres.
CIDRZ Project Manager, Clement Moonga said “we value our relationship with ZCS and together we have been able to raise the standard of health care, particularly for HIV and TB, for inmates in Zambia. As a major technical partner to ZCS under projects such as TB REACH and the Zambia Prisons Health Systems Strengthening (ZaPHSS), we have been able to jointly establish policies and systems to improve access to healthcare in correctional facilities and structures for communication, coordination, and planning”.