Strategic information health initiative launched

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A US$5.6 million United State funded strategic information initiative has today been launched at the University of Zambia (UNZA).

The initiative will be implemented by four institutions namely Ministry of Health, Central Statistics Office, National AIDS Council and the University of Zambia with the aim of strengthening Zambia’s health information systems.

The initiative will further develop capacity of the government institutions to utilise their HIV/AIDS and other health data for programme planning.

Deputy Minister of Health Patrick Chikusu launched the initiative today and commended the US government for its continued support to the health sector especially in the area of research.

Dr. Chikusu said government was aware of the role of research in the development of the country.

He said the country needs to collect and use quality data in order to implement its programmes effectively.

And US ambassador to Zambia Mark Stollera said the initiative will equip leaders in Zambia to make informed decisions about health.

Mr. Stollera said his government, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), was committed to building systems and enhancing expertise to reach Zambia’s own strategic information goals.

He said the initiative will also build capacity of academic and government institutions to train staff to analyse, interpret and utilise data for programme planning to improve HIV/AIDS and other health outcomes.

And University of Zambia Vice Chancellor Stephen Simukanga commended the US government for funding the initiative and pledged to use the funds for the intended purpose.

After the official launch of the initiative, the two governments officially opened the Centre of Excellence for Monitoring and Evaluation at UNZA’s School of Humanities and Social Science which has ten offices and a fully furnished computer room.