The Government has pledged to support the Africa Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases of Humans and Animals (ACEIDHA) by ensuring that the Centre has adequate resources to prevent, detect and respond to diseases of public health importance.
Speaking during the launch of the World Bank-funded rehabilitation works of the ACEIDHA building, the Ministry of Higher Education Permanent Secretary, Mrs Kayula Siame, said the Government was happy to see a significant step taken by the University of Zambia towards strengthening the capacity to manage infectious diseases and respond to outbreaks in Zambia and across the region.
Mrs Siame said the Ministry of Higher Education was proud of the milestone achievement attained by UNZA and revealed that the administration of His Excellency, the President Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, was fully committed to strengthening the education sector. “This launch is indeed a historic moment. The project, we celebrate today, is an unprecedented endeavour. This project commenced in 2018, as part of the commitment of the Republic of Zambia to providing the necessary capacity development for infectious disease management, through training and research. Currently, this is being achieved through ACEIDHA,” she said.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same function, UNZA Vice-Chancellor, Prof Luke Mumba, in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr Tamala Kambikambi, said it has been a strategic objective of the University to develop human capacity and skills in infectious diseases through training and research.
He said since the introduction of the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1983, UNZA has been producing high calibre graduates that have played a significant role in national efforts to prevent, manage and mitigate infectious diseases in the country and neighbouring regions.
Prof Mumba said there has been a growing global concern about the emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases which are ravaging various parts of the world, disrupting normal operations of governments, society, business, industry, and health facilities such as Ebola, SARS, and now, coronavirus (COVID-19).
“With this development, there is a clarion call at the international level, to develop and put in place measures focused on prevention, management and mitigation of infectious diseases. And through ACEIDHA, UNZA is set to take the lead in producing quality human resources needed to manage any infectious disease outbreak,” he said.