IMA World Health/ Erika Pearl

On Monday, February 25 the Africa Christian Health Associations (ACHA) Platform kicked off its 6th ACHA Biennial Conference in Lusaka, Zambia. Organized by the ACHA Platform Secretariat and hosted by the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), the conference brought together 100 representatives from Christian Health Associations (CHAs) across sub-Saharan Africa, donors, partners like IMA World Health and other stakeholders for a week of learning, sharing and networking.

Understanding that the non-communicable disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa is rising, the conference organizers chose the theme, “Increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa; health systems strengthening towards scaling up FBOs response.”

According to its website, the stated purpose of ACHAP is to promote continued, effective and efficient engagement of Church Health Services in Africa towards achieving equitable access to quality health care among members of the Platform and in Africa at large.

As a faith-based organization working in partnership with CHAs for many years to increase access to health care throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including an emphasis on NCDs, IMA World Health was a key participant in this year’s conference.

IMA Sr. Program Officer Erika Pearl presented on IMA’s Burkitt’s Lymphoma and cervical cancer initiatives in Tanzania. IMA HR Technical Advisor Doris Mwarey presented the work of the ACHAP Human Resources for Health (HRH) Technical Working Group and tools of CapacityPlus (a USAID-funded HRH project); and IMA President & CEO Rick Santos moderated a panel discussion highlighting different partners and featuring Dr. Susan Brems, the USAID/Zambia Mission Director.

The ACHAP Biennial happens every two years, and the next meeting will take place in 2015.