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by Anjali Sastry on November 30, 2008

The Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) is a non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A large organization of nearly 600 employees, CIDRZ is a major government partner for HIV service expansion and clinical research in Zambia.

A good overview of the organization comes from this medical fellowship program: the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars Program for U.S. and developing country advanced degree students in the health sciences for one year of mentored clinical research training at a site in the developing world. See their site overview for Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia.

Here’s a site dedicated to their current efforts to address a major challenge they face in growing the organization: funding for facilities development. See Zambia First.

To learn more about CIDRZ and the setting in which it operates:  here’s an award-winning series of articles in The Birmingham News.

The organization has an extensive research capability. For instance, here are some resources linked to a project with RTI International (a trade name of Research Triangle Institute) to develop a Web-based software application to maintain critical information for patients receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). According to an RTI website, their

work on the Zambia Electronic Perinatal Record System (ZEPRS) project provided the foundation for ARTworks, a system for managing antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV/AIDS patients. Developed in cooperation with the UAB [University of Alabama-Birmingham] and the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), ARTworks is currently being used in Lusaka’s clinics and provides reports that meet the performance monitoring requirements of the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

A powerpoint deck presents more on the RTI experience from this project which finished in 2007.
To get a sense of the progress CIDRZ has made in recent years:
In this very short video, Dale Hanson Bourke, President of the CIDRZ Foundation, talks informally at a reception, sharing a few words on their progress in screening for and treating HIV/AIDS.

PEPFAR-Supported HIV Care and Treatment in Urban Zambia: powerpoint presentation from around 2005 or 2006 at the Institutes of Medicine by Jeff Stringer, MD, Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia.  In 2006, CIDRZ’s Moses Sinkala MD, MPH, DIRECTOR OF HEALTH, LUSAKA DISTRICT, ZAMBIAN MINISTRY OF HEALTH, presented Quality issues around delivering ART in resource limited settings: Experience from rapid ART scale-up in Lusaka District, Zambia.

Videos convey conditions on the ground and help illuminate the need. “AIDS In Zambia, Africa: The Plague That Thunders!” was produced by The Mary Fisher CARE Fund at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s AIDS Research and Treatment Center, and includes coverage of some of the work CIDRZ does. A magazine story on Mary Fisher and some notes from her tell her story.
And “Year 25+” is a documentary film portraying a year in the life of health providers in sub-Saharan Africa on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first HIV/AIDS case in southern Africa. I’ve embedded the preview here.

Personal blogs also convey a real sense of what it is like to work at CIDRZ and with its staff. Here’s one medical student’s blog by McMumbi.