Congratulations to the AHF Zambia team on their 15-year “Keeping the Promise” anniversary last month! The milestone was commemorated with a gala dinner attended by government leaders, journalists, artists, and AHF staff – many with over 10 years at AHF.
Since 2007, AHF Zambia has tested over 1 million people for HIV and established three standalone clinics. The team introduced a mobile testing unit in 2009 to provide hard-to-reach communities with free HIV testing, treatment, and condoms and created a program in 2012 to increase HIV testing by training volunteer counselors. Its Girls Act program, which empowers girls to stay healthy and in school, has distributed more than 1 million free sanitary pads to girls in need.
“It is said, if you want to go fast, you go alone, but if you want to go far, go with others,” said Martin Matabishi, Country Program Director for AHF Zambia. “Our successes are because of partners like the Ministry of Health, NAC, and others who have walked the past 15 years with us, including the sheer resolve of AHF Zambia staff and the tremendous support from AHF’s Global and Bureau offices. But our work is not done, as the new HIV infection rates we see, particularly among young people, are a reminder that there is still much more to do to slow down new infections and ensure we attain global AIDS control.”
AHF Zambia plans to expand geographically, train more health care workers, and further develop the infrastructure of current sites. In cooperation with its government and civil society partners, the team currently provides HIV/AIDS care and treatment to over 98,000 registered patients across its clinics and 29 government health facilities in 12 districts.
Zambia’s Minister of Health, Hon. Sylvia Masebo spoke at the dinner, where she thanked AHF for contributing to developing and maintaining health infrastructure, especially in rural areas, and for consistently supplementing government efforts in areas including HIV/AIDS and menstrual hygiene. “Government appreciates the role of cooperating partners such as AHF in the quest to deliver quality healthcare to the citizens. For this reason, my ministry will continue working closely with AHF in reducing the country’s health care burden,” said Masebo.