Message From Zambart Research Director

For more than 20 years, Zambart has known the value of evidenced-based research in improving the lives of people in resource-constrained and high-disease burden settings. As such, Zambart has invested its research efforts in seeking answers to some of the most pressing public health problems facing Zambia and the sub-region today. Zambart has turned the knowledge gained from its research activities into strong evidence-for-action programmes and policies to improve the lives of those affected by the burden of diseases such as HIV and TB.

In the last decade Zambart has grown substantially both in its capacity to carry out long-term research and in the provision of opportunities on various research methodologies that remain relevant to public health. In line with this, Zambart’s staff has steadily increased in number and also in skills and capacity and now comprises a dynamic workforce carrying out research in epidemiology and all aspects of research. Our remarkable team of researchers has allowed Zambart to specialise in large studies and particularly cluster-randomised trial of complex public health interventions designed to inform and influence public health policy.

This report summarises some of our most important achievements over the last couple of years, and also reflects the depth and breadth of Zambart’s research activities and collaborations.Zambart’s collaboration with the country’s highest learning institution – the University of Zambia, has continued with the organisation’s staff mentoring and supervising of students from the school of medicine while at the same providing opportunities to the university’s students to review their data.

Dr. Helen Ayles

2013 saw the official start of the monumental HPTN 071/ PopART study. Getting ready for the PopART study, while challenging from all aspects, meant coordinating logistics and partnerships, and contracting a large number of new employees who would be the study’s forerunners. This gave the staff an opportunity to get fully integrated into the new study. As Zambart embarks on what’s set to be the most challenging study yet we are all spurred on in the belief that this intervention, if successful, will change the HIV landscape in Zambia and beyond. Whatever its results this study will inform policy makers worldwide and we hope will significantly reduce HIV transmission in our communities.

Zambart continues to conduct research that seeks to strengthen the existing national health care systems and beyond through research like the ZAMPACT study, a 2 year study of better TB diagnostics and through other projects like the Better Health Outcomes through Mentoring and Assessment (BHOMA) study. This year we will also embark on our first TB vaccine study, pushing our regulatory office into strengthening further the environment in which we conduct research. Meanwhile, Zambart’s Health Economic Unit has also been restructured and strengthened into a fully-fledged unit supporting all of Zambart’s research activities. In all its research Zambart will endeavour to show how the process of research can provide direction, inform policy and shape-decision making to save lives and improve the well-being of people affected by epidemics.

– Dr. Helen Ayles, Zambart Research Director

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