The Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project Tuberculosis Local Organisations Network (TBLON), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) to enhance TB sensitization and workplace screening.
The partnership will assist CIDRZ, and the Ministry of Health (MOH) to have easy access and carry out TB sensitization for people working in member companies affiliated to ZACCI. The MOU outlines the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) to which the partnership will adhere to, this also includes the provision for the establishment of a TB workplace policy for ZACCI affiliate companies.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, CIDRZ Chief Executive Officer Dr Izukanji Sikazwe who was represented by CIDRZ Chief Financial Officer Mr Ackim Sinkala, said the partnership is a great opportunity which will contribute to achieving of one of the project’s objectives to strengthen private sector engagement in the fight against TB.
She noted that Private Sector Engagement (PSE) is one of the many avenues through which most unreached communities in TB can be accessed and the partnership between CIDRZ and ZACCI will help in achieving this.
Dr Sikazwe said, the MOU will contribute towards enhancing government efforts to meet the national goal of ending TB by the end of 2030.
And ZACCI president Dr Chabuka Jerome Kawesha who is also the Chairperson for Zambia Private Sector Alliance (ZPSA) said the two parties enter into this agreement with the desire to promote good health standards across the country. The MOU therefore becomes an additional step towards the private sector participation in ensuring that the health care agenda of the country is upheld to the highest level.
He noted that ZPSA strives at creating unity across sectors of interest and foster a robust public and private partnership which ensures economic development, sustainability and it is important to have a healthy population and a healthy society.
Dr Kawesha said the Zambia private sector alliance recently signed an MOU with the Ministry of health to ensure that it participates in the fight against COVID-19 and further to that they noted the need for the private sector to partner with organisations that are experts at providing health care for the people of Zambia.
“We are happy to see the willingness of CIDRZ in the TB elimination program which can be brought to our workplaces. We are willing to discuss the scop to which our involvement should extend, where should provide technical, material or even information support to ensure that we roll back TB countrywide,” said Dr Kawesha.
Meanwhile CIDRZ announced and handed over a letter to Mr James Koni who is Atlas Mara Bank CEO as the new TB champion for showing leadership by spearheading private sector engagement in TB activities. Through he’s leadership, a handsome donation was made to the TBLON project with an aim of sustaining income generating activities for community health workers who are vital in the fight against TB.
Mr koni has shown personal commitment and passion towards promotion of good health in our communities. He has availed himself for TB advocacy which shall galvanise other corporate leaders and Zambians at large to fight TB and end TB by the year 2030.
And receiving the letter, Mr Koni thanked CIDRZ for the privilege accorded to him and appealed to fellow corporate and community leaders to hold hands together and take part in the promotion of TB awareness.
“During this time when we are dealing with ither infectious diseases such as COVID, it is easy to forget that there these other illnesses that we have to deal with and so I would like to urge everyone and thank CIDRZ and everyone to take part in the awareness so that we meet the objective of ending TB by the year 2030. Am happy to note the presence of Dr Kabwesha who signed the MOU with CIDRZ on behalf of ZACCI that we should together as a business community support such initiatives as a health country shall lead to a wealth nation,” said Mr Koni.