GOVT’S 2020 HIV SURVEY TO TARGET HOUSEHOLDS

The Zambia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZAMPHIA) survey for 2020 will be a nationally representative household-based study that will provide Home-Based HIV Counselling and Testing (HBHCT) with immediate return of results.

Speaking in an interview recently, ZAMPHIA 2020 Visual Communications and Media Officer Arnold Chasaya disclosed that the survey will measure HIV incidence and prevalence and viral load suppression, which will help stakeholders in the country assess the effectiveness of past and current HIV prevention and treatment programmes.

“The ZAMPHIA 2020 survey will enable individuals to test for HIV in the comfort of their own homes with no cost. Additionally, it will enable individuals found HIV positive be linked to treatment, care and support, if you are not already doing so. It will also enable individuals found HIV positive to protect their partner and loved ones from contracting HIV virus,” Mr Chasaya said.

He added that the survey is targeted at persons aged 15 years and above.

However, if the participant is between 15 to 17 years old, their parents or guardian must consent to the participation in the survey.

Mr. Chasaya implored the media to take keen interest in understanding more about the survey, emphasising that the media have a critical role to play in ensuring that communities appreciate the importance of the survey.

“This is a national project with interests of every Zambian at heart. But to be delivered fully, we will need the participation of all media and nonmedia stakeholders, such as traditional leaders, church mother bodies, non-governmental and quasi-governmental institutions,” he said.

“The HIV testing is done by collecting a small amount of blood from the arm. The blood will be collected by trained healthcare providers. After the HIV test is conducted from your home, the remaining blood samples will be taken to the central laboratory for further testing. With your permission, samples will be stored in the laboratory until destruction,” said Mr Chasaya, explaining how the survey will be conducted.

The ZAMPHIA 2020 survey is being implemented by the Government of Zambia with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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Victor Kalalanda

Victor Kalalanda is a final year media student at the University of Zambia, and he is the current managing editor of this online newspaper, the Lusaka Star. His expertise as a final year media student straddles two vastly different countries, namely Switzerland, where he worked for a top-tier media agency as a B360 Digital Marketing Global Intern, and Zambia, where he has, as either stringer or intern, competitively held jobs with all State-owned media—the Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail and Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (TV1 & TV2). For additional media production skills and insights, he completed a two-months internship with Loyola Media Productions & Broadcasting Zambia Limited—and continues to serve with a campus radio station as a reporter, news and show presenter. Before university, he survived on a series of odd jobs, later worked as a street hawker, itinerant security guard and barman, during which time he suffered bouts of humiliation and poverty, and vowed that if he ever got a real chance at life, he would die a little to make the most of it. As such, since entering university, grit and determination have been his life's guiding principles and this has in the past led a lecturer and a recruiter to describe him as "very aggressive and ambitious." In 3 years he has built a reputation for academic excellence, won 3 coveted awards and he has served in top student leadership positions as a class representative, publicity secretary and senior news editor. In his final year he now concentrates not only on building a great GPA but also on raising his career profile as a digital marketing consultant, professional ghostwriter and book editor, journalist, managing editor of the Lusaka Star, public relations aide and research assistant. He balances up his enthusiasm for career development with humanitarian work as a secretary general of an NGO, and further as a guitarist. He enjoys intellectual discussions around the subjects of love, relationships, media, politics, economics, education, underdevelopment, religion, charity, literature, sports and travelling.

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