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Community ECHO Launched to Strengthen Zambia’s Health Care Delivery

The Ministry of Health has taken a significant step toward achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030 with the official launch of the Community ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) on December 15th, 2023.

The launch event was attended by esteemed guests, including directors from the Ministry of Health, representatives from USAID, HRSA, World Bank, Global Fund, Country Director of Jhpiego, and officials from the Centers for Disease Control and various implementing partners and civil society organizations.

Addressing the audience, the Permanent Secretary for Donor Coordination highlighted the government’s commitment to achieving Universal Health Coverage by extending quality health services to communities. 

Emphasizing the importance of Human Resources for Health, the Permanent Secretary stated that strengthening community health structures was vital for delivering quality-assured services at the grassroots level.

The Community Health Unit, established in 2018, plays a crucial role in primary health care, ensuring collaborative efforts for accessible and quality services. 

Community Health Workers and volunteers, operating through Neighborhood Health Committees, act as the primary link between health facilities and communities, fostering citizen participation in healthcare systems.

The Community Health Workers, numbering around 90,000, provide essential services such as health promotion, disease screening, treatment support, and home-based care. 

Recognizing their contribution, the government emphasized the need for continuous mentorship, including virtual platforms, to keep health workers updated on new developments and facilitate real-time knowledge exchange.

The launch of the Community ECHO model represents a milestone in leveraging digital health to transform healthcare delivery. The Tele-ECHO platform will enhance clinical and public health knowledge and skills, providing a virtual space for community health workers to stay informed and exchange ideas.

The Ministry of Health expressed gratitude to cooperating partners, with special thanks to the Jhpiego Global Reach II project for supporting the Community ECHO learning platform. The launch ceremony concluded with the official unveiling of the Community ECHO model.

As Zambia embraces digital health advancements, the Community ECHO is expected to play a pivotal role in strengthening the country’s health care delivery system, bringing it one step closer to achieving Universal Health Coverage.

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