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Global Health

Photo is of a Zambian mother and her child at a rural clinic supported by USAID.
USAID supports Zambia in strengthening its public health system at the national, provincial, and community levels.
Photo: John Healy for USAID

USAID supports Zambia in strengthening its public health system at the national, provincial, and community levels.  In collaboration with the Zambian Ministry of Health, USAID’s activities work towards supporting the prevention and treatment of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, increasing the overall quality of health care, and changing attitudes and behavior with regard to maternal and child health, nutrition, family planning, gender-based violence.  In Zambia, USAID-supported health initiatives include activities that do the following:


With an HIV prevalence of 11.6 percent, Zambia benefits from USAID’s assistance, through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to scale-up integrated prevention, care, and treatment programs and lessen the impact of HIV/AIDS.  Through PEPFAR, today more than 774,000 Zambians receive daily life-saving antiretroviral treatment as compared to 3,500 in 2004; the HIV incidence rate has fallen sharply in the last decade; and the infection rate for children born to HIV-infected mothers has dropped from 45 percent to less than 5 percent. 

As part of its strategy of disease prevention, management, and mitigation, USAID supports services to over 400,000 children. USAID is committed to contributing to an AIDS-free generation in Zambia by supporting parenting programs, life-skills training for adolescents and young women, access to education through school block grants, access to HIV treatment, and household economic strengthening. 

USAID programs also help build the capacity of HIV/AIDS-affected communities to access effective, quality HIV/AIDS prevention services, including counseling and testing, voluntary male circumcision, and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.  USAID/Zambia actively works with communities and leaders to create a unified and strengthened response to HIV/AIDS.  This collaboration leads to better public discourse, stronger policies, and a lower stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS.  Community involvement is essential in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS at the local level.  Strong leadership and buy-in by civil society, governmental, religious, and traditional leaders is also critical if HIV/AIDS programs are to have a scalable and sustainable impact.  


USAID programs in Zambia aim to produce high-quality, safe childbirth services that are available and accessible to women and their newborns across 18 districts.  Programs such as Saving Mothers, Giving Life target the three delays associated with maternal mortality: delay in seeking care, delay in reaching care, and delay in receiving care.  Infant mortality rates have decreased nationally by 36 percent between 2007 and 2014 through USAID’s support for the following: equipping facilities and improving supply systems; providing training and mentoring to care providers; educating and mobilizing community members; and, strengthening linkages and improving data collection.


In Zambia, USAID works with the Ministry of Health at all levels to strengthen the systems that underpin the delivery of high-quality health services. This includes support in human resources for health (pre- and in-service training, mentoring, human resource information systems, and performance management); health care financing (public financial management, the national social health insurance scheme, national health accounts, costing studies); procurement and supply chain management (procurement of essential medicines and commodities, expansion of storage capacity, logistics information systems); leadership and governance (support for strategy and guideline development, training of MOH staff in management and leadership); health information (support for roll out of DHIS2, national surveys); and service delivery (support for national quality improvement program, performance assessment and technical support supervision systems).  For example, to date, over 1,600 new health workers have completed an in-service training program through the USAID Systems for Better Health activity.


Increased and more widespread access to health products and services promotes greater use.  USAID, through both the private and public sectors, distributes health products and provides services for disease prevention and control.  Products and services include:  water treatment solution (Chlorine), condoms (Maximum and Care), oral contraceptives (SafePlan), and testing, counseling, and medical male circumcision supplies.  Voluntary family planning saves lives and empowers women and girls to complete their education, create or seize better economic opportunities, and fulfill their overall potential.


With malaria as one of the leading causes of death in sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia is 1 of 19 countries where the United States President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) operates.  PMI partners with the Zambian National Malaria Control Center to support the scale-up of indoor residual spraying, the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, particularly for children and pregnant women, and the provision of rapid diagnostic test kits and life-saving medicines.  In targeted communities and with USAID/PMI support, 77 percent of Zambian households have at least one Insecticide Treaded Net (ITN) or benefits from indoor residual spraying, and malaria-related deaths have dropped by over 30 percent.  Through USAID in Zambia, PMI also procures commodities, provides technical assistance for environmental compliance, and promotes upgraded diagnostic capacity to support the National Malaria Control Center’s operations.


Along with better health care services, improved nutrition contributes to a reduction in morbidity and mortality.  Activities such as USAID Thrive promote nutritional status of people living with HIV (PLHIV), including adults, children, and orphans and vulnerable children by promoting good nutrition.  Integration of Nutrition Assessment, Counseling and Support (NACS) into the routine care and treatment for HIV-Positive individuals contributes to the improvement of antiretroviral therapy and palliative client care outcomes.


People infected with HIV are more at risk of tuberculosis, and Zambia’s high prevalence of HIV has contributed to an increase in the number of TB-related cases.  Through USAID, the U.S. Government assists Zambia by strengthening tuberculosis control programs, and improving detection and treatment by local health professionals through their training and implementation of the latest technologies. 


Almost half of all women in Zambia have experienced some form of physical violence.  Three USAID-supported activities - Access to Justice, Survivor Support, and Prevention and Advocacy – directly confront the high incidence of GBV in Zambia.  Through Survivor Support, 40,380 women have received post-violence care, while 53,000 GBV survivors have been provided with legal services through the Access to Justice Program.  In partnership with international donors and local partners, the multiple anti-GBV programs aim is to reorient societal norms toward zero tolerance, enhance protective procedures, and strengthen the institutional environment to prevent and respond to GBV and child marriage. 

Last updated: May 09, 2018

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