The U.S. government, through the U.S. Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, supported the launch of a virtual community of practice platform in partnership with the Zambian Defence Force on March 17.
The ECHO, or Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes, model was developed by the University of New Mexico in the U.S., and improves both capacity and access to specialty care for rural and underserved populations.
By leveraging the ECHO model, the ZDF will have the ability to connect remote military clinical sites with experts from Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka and other specialty centers. Additionally, it will help promote medical education and care management best practices throughout Zambia to provide better care to more people. It will also allow access to a larger network throughout southern Africa that has active sessions on HIV, TB, cervical cancer, COVID-19, and other priority health concerns.
With the ZDF ECHO launch, the Zambian military will be better equipped to support its service members, their families, and the roughly 400,000 civilians living within the military health clinics’ catchment areas.
With U.S. government support, the Ministry of Health operates over 300 ECHO facilities across Zambia. This is the first such project developed specifically to meet the needs of the Zambian military and surrounding communities.
In addition to the ZDF ECHO program, PEPFAR partners with the government of Zambia to achieve HIV epidemic control through a broad range of activities. In 2021, PEPFAR invested over $400 million in Zambia’s HIV response. Learn more about PEPFAR in Zambia here.