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Press Release: Speech By Hon. Minister of Health

REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA

       MINISTRY OF HEALTH

SPEECH BY THE HON. MINISTER OF HEALTH

JOSEPH KASONDE, MP, ON THE OCCASION OF THE ZAMBART OPEN

DAY AT ZAMBART HOUSE

ON

25TH NOVEMBER, 2014.

 

Ministry of Health

Ndeke House

Haile Selassie Avenue

P.O. Box 30205

  • The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Dr Peter Mwaba
  • The British Ambassador, H.E. Mr. James Thornton
  • The United States Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Eric T. Schultz
  • The Dean, University of Zambia School of Medicine, Dr Fastone Goma
  • The Zambart Chief Executive Officer Dr Alwyn Mwinga
  • The Zambart Research Director, Dr Helen Ayles
  • Co-operating Partners Present
  • Distinguished Colleagues in the scientific community
  • Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honour and privilege to be here today to officiate at this very important function. It is indeed a pleasure to join a gathering of colleagues in research, academia and public health. It is especially more exciting when the gathering is an eclectic one such as this, aimed at celebrating achievements accomplished in pursuit of better health for the improvement of the lives of people in our communities.

Today, we are here to commemorate 25 years of scientific research aimed at reducing the burden of disease in our communities by Zambart. It is gratifying to note that what began as collaboration between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the School of Medicine, here in Zambia, has developed into a fully-fledged research organisation.

Distinguished Invited Guests,

This is no simple achievement for any organisation because as we all know, it requires tireless dedication and passion to service. The last two decades have seen Zambart grow to become a well-recognised name in the Zambian scientific community and beyond. The successful  contributions made by Zambart in the prevention and control of disease epidemics cannot be overlooked, especially in terms of assisting government policy direction and implementation, strengthening institutional capacity and expanding health research capacity among Zambian scientists.

Research is essential because it enables us to understand the development and evolvement of diseases and epidemics that continue to threaten various populations in our communities.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Government and Zambart share a long history of collaborative engagement in health research spanning over two decades. The results of the numerous researches carried out by Zambart in collaboration with other partners have been significant and highly beneficial to our country as well as to the international community.

Recognising the importance of such collaborative efforts, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government will remain committed to developing and strengthening such partnerships in an effort to reduce the burden of disease among our people.  Government will continue supporting such research efforts because they carry promise in terms of changing the way we approach the delivery of healthcare to our people.

Distinguished Invited Guests,

I am cognisant to the fact that in addition to conducting clinical research on the treatment and prevention of communicable epidemics such as Tuberculosis and HIV, Zambart has continued to expand into other areas of non-communicable epidemics such as Malaria and Diabetes.

Through these various research studies, Zambart has reinforced government efforts in delivering better health care and services. In this regard, Zambart must be commended because research like theirs promotes the Ministry of Health’s vision of having a nation of healthy and productive people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In areas where Zambart has worked, their contribution has included complimenting human resource for health numbers in clinics and therefore reducing congestion among people seeking services. Further, Zambart has also provided support with diagnostic equipment as well capacity development of staff in local health facilities.

The National Health Strategic Plan (2011-2015) indicates that the quality of health service delivery is dependent on the availability of appropriate Health Care technology in appropriate quantities and varieties, therefore, the people of Zambia appreciates Zambart for being   a reliable partner in the use of cutting edge technology and innovative approaches in the prevention of diseases such as TB and HIV at community level.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Zambart efforts are more appreciated due to the utilisation of modern technology such as the use of the digital x-rays and GeneXpert for TB diagnosis. My government also recognises Zambart’s commitment to strengthening and development of expertise of Zambian graduates in various medical and non-medical scientific fields at local level and their continued exposure to various modern research methods.

To date, Zambart has directly supported a total of over 24 young Zambians in their pursuit of higher education through attainment of PhDs, Masters and Bachelor degrees as well as other research capacity building efforts. We all know that a strong research capacity is cardinal for effective policy formulation and implementation.

Esteemed Invited Guests,

I therefore wish to commend Zambart for its commitment to improving the expertise of Zambian research, and similarly make an earnest appeal to other health research institutions conducting various Epidemiological research in Zambia to emulate this approach.

This Open Day is indeed to be a reflection of how far Zambart has come, and to celebrate the milestones reached to date. However, I implore Zambart to continue to grow in terms of the number of Zambian staff heading various research studies if indeed the vision to strengthen local research capacity is to be fully realised. Our country is in a region with an ever-shifting epidemiological pattern, thus, we cannot afford to lag behind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I conclude, allow me to once again congratulate Zambart for their partnership with my Government and wish them more success in the years to come.

 Thank you and God Bless

END

PC Pilots PopART Research tools

Research Tools for HPTN 071 study Piloted

The much anticipated piloting of research tools for HPTN 071/Population Effects of Antiretroviral Therapy to Reduce HIV Transmission (PopART) study, underZambia Aids Related Tuberculosis (ZAMBART) was launched in Chipata compound in Lusaka, one of the implementing sites for the study.

Research Assistants drawn from Chipata, Kanyama and Chawama Population Cohort (PC) teams, were given Win pads and maps, and tasked to locate randomly selected households. The pilot exercise was conducted over two days in order to determine how quickly researchers would be able to locate households using the specially designed win pad and map and curb any glitches.

Speaking when addressing the researchers, PC Manager Sandra Simbeza, said the pilot exercise was done to eliminate any possible challenges when implementing the actual study. Simbeza emphasized to the researchers the need for accuracy in the location of the houses on the map in order for the study to run smoothly. Supervising the exercise were Cartographer Bixyn Mulenga and PC Data Manager Nkatya Kasese.

There was anticipation as the team of researchers assigned in pairs were dropped off at various drop zones and fanned out to locate randomly selected areas on the map using the research tools provided during the training.

The researchers who were clad in PopART field attire and with their hand held win pads, stirred some interest from curious on-lookers in the community who asked the questions about what they were doing.

The pilot study in Chipata compound was recorded as a success with a few challenges such as failing to locate selected houses and not finding potential participants in their homes because they had shifted to other places.