• iDSI has been engaging with Zambia since 2017 and has developed strong relationships with the Zambian Ministry of Health and the University of Zambia. Our focus is on evidence-informed decision making – showing that, by considering relevant evidence, good policy making can achieve more health for the money.

Evidence informed priority setting for today and tomorrow

IDSI’s work in Zambia is about supporting good healthcare decision making not only in the short term, though applied analysis, but to leave long term processes and systems for the future. We are collaborating with the World Bank and the University of Zambia to support the Ministry of Health in designing a Health Benefits Package, a list of goods and services that could be offered to the public as step towards Universal Health Coverage.

To complement this, IDSI is working directly with the Ministry of Health to develop an approach towards embedded, routine Health Technology Assessment. Zambia is at an early stage in its road towards evidence-informed healthcare priority setting, but other countries such and Thailand and Kenya lead the way, showing that institutionalisation of these approaches really works.


The current work builds on previous IDSI collaboration with the University of Zambia’s School of Public Health to examine the potential impact of imposing a tax on SSBs over a period of 40 years for the Zambian population. Using a mathematical model developed by PRICELESS SA and local data, we showed that introducing a 25% tax on SSBs would reduce weekly per capita consumption of sugary drinks by between 102ml and 168ml – potentially extending life for a Zambian woman by 3.5 years; no significant benefit was observed for men.

Following the study, Zambia has joined the growing number of countries to have adopted a SSB tax to reduce the prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Key Reads

Covid 19 related:

Covid-19 deaths in Africa: prospective systematic postmortem surveillance study.  BMJ 2021372  

Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in six districts in Zambia in July, 2020: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey.  Mulenga L, Hines J,  Fwoloshi S, Chirwa L,  Siwingwa M, Yingst S, et al. March 09, 2021


Assessing capacity and readiness to manage NCDs in primary care setting: Gaps and opportunities based on adapted WHO PEN tool in Zambia. Mutale W, Bosomprah S, Shankalala P, Mweemba O, Chilengi R, Kapambwe S, Chishimba C, Mukanu M, Chibutu D, Heimburger D, Aug 2018

From favours to entitlements: community voice and action and health service quality in Zambia. Schaaf M, Topp S, Ngulube M. Health Policy and Planning, Volume 32, Issue 6, July 2017, Pages 847–859

Stakeholder involvement in health research priority setting in low income countries: the case of Zambia. Kapiriri, L. Res Involv Engagem 4, 41 (2018).

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