The University of Zambia School of Public Health


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The University of Zambia School of Public Health operates under the main goals, outlined by Act No.11 of the University of Zambia, which include providing higher education, promoting research and the advancement of learning, and disseminating knowledge to all persons without discrimination. Under this broad mandate, the school trains professionals in Bioethics, Environmental Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Family Medicine, Health Policy and Management, Health Promotion and Education, Public Health Demography, Community Health, Implementation Science, Nutrition and other health disciplines. The qualifications offered in these disciplines include diploma, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Doctor of Philosophy degree and post-doctoral training.

The School of Public Health’s research areas of focus include, but are not limited to, Health systems research; HIV/AIDS; One-health; Neglected tropical diseases; Community Based Interventions; Non Communicable diseases; Health economics; Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and adolescent health; Public health nutrition; Implementation research; TB; Malaria; WASH; Exposure and effects of lead exposure; Bioethics; The health of key populations; Genomics; Pollution; Food safety and hygiene.

The school has strong strong linkages and networks locally, which include the Central Statistical Office (CSO), Macha Research Trust, Tropical Disease Research Centre (TDRC), Ministry of Health, UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, CIDRZ, ZAMBART, and internationally, which include the Norwegian Research Council, NOMA and NUFU programs through the Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Wellcome Trust, and The Africa Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD). Additionally, the school houses a training partnership with Fogarty African Bioethics Training Programme through the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, with funding from NIH to enhance training in Bioethics for both faculty and students. The school collaborates with other international universities that include Cardiff University (UK), Wits University (South Africa), Umea University (Sweden), Vanderbilt University (USA), and College of Medicine (Malawi) among others.

Site Director

Picture of Cosmas ZyamboDr. Cosmas Zyambo, Chair for the Community and Family Health Medicine department, School of Public Health at the University of Zambia

Dr. Cosmas Zyambo is currently the Chair for the Community and Family Health Medicine department at the University of Zambia School of Public Health. He also holds an adjunct assistant professor position in the department of Health Behavior at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Public Health. His work focuses on a number of HIV-related studies, such as NCDs, smoking, smoking cessation, alcohol consumption, mental health, and substance abuse in adolescents and the HIV population in Zambia. Dr. Zyambo received his medical degree from the University of Zambia, his Masters of Philosophy from the University of Bergen in Norway, and his PhD from the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Site Mentors

Dr. Lawrence MwananyandaLawrence Mwananyanda, Research Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Public Health

Dr. Lawrence Mwananyanda is a clinician/scientist with a wealth of experience in conducting medical and public health research. He has been Principal Investigator or Co-PI on multiple research project. His portfolio includes being the Director of the HIV Vaccines Trials Unit at the Botswana Harvard Partnership where he and colleagues worked on the first Phase 1 HIV vaccine trials to be conducted in Africa. His interest with HIV vaccines research continued with his stint at the Emory University under the Zambia HIV Research Project where they studied conformational changes of the HIV at infection in a cohort of discordant couples to aid in design of next generation HIV trial vaccines.

Dr. GomaDr. Fastone Goma, Professor of Physiology and Cardiovascular Health, University of Zambia

Dr. Goma is an Associate Professor of Physiology and Cardiovascular Health at the University of Zambia School of Medicine. He has also studied International Public Health at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), USA and Tobacco Dependency Management at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), University of Toronto, Canada. He is the Director for the Centre for Primary Care Research (CPCR) at the University of Zambia, School of Medicine which has been the secretariat for the Zambia Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (ZANOCODA). His main research interests include risk factors for Non-Communicable Diseases (Tobacco & Hypertension), Palliative Care, knowledge translation (KT) and human resources for health (HRH) within the health systems arena.

Dr. JacobsDr. Choolwe Jacobs, Lecturer, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Dr. Choolwe Nkwemu Jacobs is a Social Epidemiologist and public health specialist with a nursing background. I conduct research, lecture and supervise student’s research projects in the University of Zambia, School of Public Health at postgraduate level. I have expertise, leadership, training and research interest is in HIV/AIDs, bioethics, reproductive, maternal and newborn health, child health, adolescent health, communicable and non-communicable diseases, and implementation research. I am competent on a range of teaching and research methodologies including implementation research, quantitative and qualitative methods/studies, case-control studies, randomized controlled trials, cohort studies and household surveys.

Dr.; KilembeDr. William Kilembe, Project Director, Zambia HIV Research Project

Dr. Kilembe has worked at the Zambia Emory HIV Research Project (ZEHRP) now called Center for Family Health Research in Zambia (CFHRZ) since 2001 and currently serves as the Project Director in Lusaka. He is the Principal Investigator on an International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) study to recruit a cohort of high-risk women (HRW: female sex workers (FSW) and single mothers (SM)) for studies on incidence and risk factors for HIV and STI, acute HIV infection, and preparedness activities for HIV vaccine clinical trials. In addition, he managed NIH, IAVI, and CDC funded research and program activities with heterosexual cohabiting couples, including expansion of couples voluntary counseling and testing (CVCT) within Zambia, integration of CVCT into public health facility service delivery and followed prospective cohorts to study correlates of HIV transmission and pathogenesis in order to inform HIV vaccine development and prepare for HIV vaccine efficacy trials. Currently, he is the principal investigator for a Phase 2b HIV vaccine efficacy trial sponsored the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and Janssen and Janssen (HVTN 705), into which their two Zambia research centers have enrolled 218 participants from the cohort of HRW. He is also the PI of other vaccine and therapeutic trials for HIV and COVID 19.

Dr. KwendaDr. Geoffrey Kwenda, Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology & Molecular Biology

Dr. Kwenda is a molecular biologist with significant research, administrative and mentoring experience, and the immediate past Head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the School of Health Sciences at UNZA. He is also a former Fogarty Fellow at the University of Nebraska, where he was involved in studying the transmission of Kaposi’ Sarcoma-associated Human Herpesvirus (KSHV) in a Zambian population. His research interests are mainly in infectious diseases, where he uses evolutionary genomics, molecular taxonomy, field ecology, bioinformatics and experimentation to investigate clinical and environmental factors that are driving infectious diseases. Most of his work focuses on the genomic epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in enterobacteria, respiratory pathogens, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Cryptococcus. His ultimate research goal is focused on understanding the natural reservoir of infection and comparing it to what we already know about infectious agents that will help us understand the mechanisms behind disease, informing prevention and treatment strategies, thereby reducing the burden of disease.