The Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) hosted the United States Government Secretary of the Treasury, Dr. Janet Louise Yellen on Monday the 23rd of January, 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia. In her speech, Dr Yellen highlighted the importance of collaboration between the African continent and the U.S. in advancing public health security, strengthening world health systems at national, regional and global level, and preparing for pandemics in the future. She said this during the official opening of the ZNPHI Public Health Emergency Operation Center (PHEOC). The opening of the Emergency Operation Center follows the recent pronouncement by the President of Zambia Mr. Hakainde Hichilema who encouraged African countries to set up viable Public Health Emergency Operation Centers.
The grand opening of the PHEOC was followed by a closed-door meeting between the US delegation and the Director General of the Zambia National Public Health Institute, Professor Roma Chilengi who was supported by the ZNPHI Board Chairperson, Professor Peter Mwaba and four of the Institute’s six Directors.
The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Dr. Janet Louise Yellen’s entourage consisted of U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, Michael C. Gonzales, CDC Zambia Country Director Andrew Auld, Eric Meyer (Dep. Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Africa & Middle East), Alexia Latortue (Assistant Secretary, International Affairs, U.S. Dept of the Treasury), Jay Shambaugh (Under Secretary for International Affairs), Deb Crane (Advisor to the US Executive Director at IMF), and Didem Nisanci (Chief of Staff, US Dept. of Treasury).
The Zambia National Public Health Institute is a center of excellence enacted by Parliament in December 2019 mandated to safeguard the public health security of the country. It also supports the agenda of the Africa CDC in the New Public Health Order. Zambia, is the host country of the Southern Africa Regional Coordinating Center (SA-RCC) of the Africa CDC. The ZNPHI works closely with the Africa CDC and the SA-RCC in implementing strategies and activities that will facilitate prevention of diseases, timely detection and control of disease outbreaks.
The ZNPHI works in safeguarding the public health security through laboratory-based surveillance and disease intelligence, enhanced detection and response to public health events and threats. Another facet of the Institute’s agenda is community engagement using a multisectoral and local approach as part of its Social Behavioral Change Communication. Critical to this is a relevant and qualified workforce, consequently, the ZNPHI has a number of training and capacity building programs, of note being the Field Epidemiology Training Program renowned for accommodating students across the world.
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Dr. Janet Louise Yellen is an American Economist currently serving as the 78th Secretary of the Treasury of the United States Government since January 26, 2021. She was the head of the Federal Reserve System’s board of governors from 2014 to 2018, and is the first woman to hold these positions.
Secretary Yellen, is the first public official to travel to the African continent since the U.S.- Africa Leaders’ Summit in December 2022 where U.S. President Joe Biden, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. First Lady Jill Biden, and a number of U.S. Cabinet secretaries declared their intention to visit African countries in 2023.
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Mazyanga L Mazaba Liwewe
Director – Communication Information and Research