Report from Zambia

Report from Zambia

As CEO of the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia and associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Charles Holmes, MD, MPH '94, devotes much of his time and energy to protecting the next generation of Zambians against HIV/AIDS and other health threats. Through the work he and his team are conducting in collaboration with the government of Zambia, hundreds of thousands of people are now receiving lifesaving therapy, among them tens of thousands of women who have been treated for HIV during pregnancy to prevent children from contracting the disease—work Holmes says is critical if Africa is to avoid an epidemic rebound of HIV/AIDS.

Holmes, who previously worked in Malawi and with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Washington, D.C., stresses the importance of continued commitment and funding from national governments and donor institutions like PEPFAR, as well as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "We are working hard to scale up innovative and more efficient models of service delivery to ensure greater efficiency, quality, and reach, but consistent funding is needed to make the transition," says Holmes.

How can SPH students best prepare for the ever-changing world of global health? Holmes suggests they get solid grounding and expertise in technical and quantitative skills. "The ability to critically appraise data and to use both qualitative and quantitative data to improve programs is extraordinarily important," he says. He adds that the impact of problem-based learning cannot be overstated. Experience dealing with actual public health problems—whether domestic or global —is paramount.
—Rachel Ruderman