Ministry of Higher Education Permanent Secretary, Mr Owen Mgemezulu (left) talking to UNZA Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Luke E. Mumba (2nd left), UNZA School of Veterinary Don, Prof. Aaron Mweene (2nd right) and Copperbelt University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nason Ngoma (right) during the signing ceremony of the US$6 million Performance and Funding Agreement for the African Centre of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases in Lusaka.

Government of the Republic of Zambia and the University of Zambia have signed a US$6 million Performance and Funding Agreement for the African Centre of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (ACEEZD). The ACEEZD has been approved at the University of Zambia through the World Bank Project for Eastern and Southern Higher Education Centres of Excellence initiative, the ACE II. The beneficiaries of this funding agreement are the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University.

Signing on behalf of Government was Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Mr Owen Mgemezulu and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Luke Mumba, for the University of Zambia on Thursday, 20th July, 2017.

The ACEEZD is a World Bank funded US $6 million (six (6) million dollar) loan/credit to the Government of the Republic of Zambia and is hosted at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zambia. The ACEEZD aims to:

1.    Develop critical mass of skilled human resources that will contribute to the development of innovative interventions for control and elimination of infectious diseases through training to MSc and PhD levels.
2.    Provide expertise in the prevention and control of infectious diseases to both the private and public sectors in the sub-Saharan region who will benefit from employing graduates from the ACEEZD
3.    Strengthen capacity for high quality innovative research focusing on protection and safeguarding human and animal health from the emergence of dangerous pathogens with high health and socio-economic impacts.
4.    Develop advocacy programs for community and policy makers on infectious diseases
5.    Strengthen network/linkages with local, regional and international institutions to foster high quality training, research and technological transfer for long term sustainability of ACEEZD.
6.    Produce qualified manpower as future teaching and research faculty
7.    Strengthen infrastructure for training, research and development of ACEEZD.

ACEEZD will endeavour to achieve the regional goal of understanding the natural history of some infectious diseases, through new evidence-based, cost effective, multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral, and collaborative strategies to be implemented by well-trained and skilled scientists. It will also increase the sub-region's human resource capacity to deal with these problems by training a pool of scientists (MSc and PhD graduates) that will be ready to tackle these challenges. This will be achieved by creating an enabling environment at various regional training institutions to carry out the required training.

For the training of MSc and Ph.D. regional and national students, ACEEZD will acquire state-of-the-art equipment and renovate related existing infrastructure. ACEEZD will establish applied research programs for regional scientists to pursue high-impact educational training in emerging and zoonotic viral and bacterial infections as well as Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Ministry of Higher Education Permanent Secretary, Mr Owen Mgemezulu (4th left) pose for a group photo with UNZA Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Luke E. Mumba (3rd left), UNZA School of Veterinary Don, Prof. Aaron Mweene (3rd right), Copperbelt University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nason Ngoma (4th right) and other staff during the signing ceremony of the US$6 million Performance and Funding Agreement for the African Centre of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases in Lusaka.