In Zambia, the HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate is estimated at 12.5 percent – a severe and debilitating epidemic. Unlike many other African countries, Zambia’s HIV epidemic remains worst in urban areas and tends to affect wealthier and more highly educated populations. Women face a higher risk of getting the virus than men, and the virus has left many children orphaned and vulnerable. Such a large number of orphaned children places a strain on extended families and communities that must take on the task of raising the children.
Because of the toll of the HIV/AIDS virus, USAID's main priority in Zambia is to reduce the high prevalence rate with a combination of tactics, including improving capacity at the Ministry of Health (MOH) to administer, monitor, and evaluate HIV programs. MEASURE Evaluation has led an intensive capacity building program for Zambia’s HIV stakeholders, based on an important and longstanding collaboration with Zambia's Central Statistics Office (CSO), the National AIDS Council (NAC), the MOH, and the University of Zambia.
MEASURE Evaluation assisted Zambia’s CSO, NAC, and MOH with the first implementation of a biannual Sexual Behavior/AIDS Indicator Survey (ZSBS/AIS) more than a decade ago, and continued to provide capacity building support for three subsequent surveys, with the goal of training Zambian stakeholders to conduct future rounds of the ZSBS/AIS without external assistance. In a multi-year capacity building program carried out with local counterparts at the University of Zambia, MEASURE Evaluation provided in-depth training for a cohort of talented government officials in survey data analysis, interpretation, and presentation of results, and conducted workshops on routine data analysis, research methods, programming in CSPro (an open-source data management software developed by the US Census Bureau), and trained IT staff at CSO on desktop publishing and graphics software for data dissemination.
MEASURE Evaluation also worked with local government counterparts to implement Sample Vital Registration with Verbal Autopsy (SAVVY) in Zambia. SAVVY is a tool to strengthen monitoring and measurement of vital events and provides nationally representative information on levels and causes of mortality as well as other indicators not available elsewhere. By implementing SAVVY, the government of Zambia strives to strengthen reporting, recording, analysis, and dissemination of vital events, particularly births and deaths. MEASURE Evaluation has assisted the CSO and the MOH, preparing them to manage the SAVVY system without assistance in the future. Support has included piloting SAVVY in four provinces and scaling up SAVVY implementation in all nine provinces, technical support, training, and expert advice.