Home / Our Work / Country Programmes / Zambia
Hero image


THET has been working in Zambia since 2009, focusing on a number of its most urgent health needs

Blue leaf
Blue leaf

Lack of useable medical equipment

As a result, healthcare workers on the front lines of service delivery lack the equipment they require to diagnose, monitor and treat patients. Imagine the difficulties faced by a nurse caring for infants on a ward that doesn’t have functional resuscitation equipment, incubators or oxygen.

This is due in large part to a lack of human resources and training for both equipment users and maintenance personnel. Working with the Northern Technical College, THET developed the first training course for Biomedical Engineering Technologists (BMETs) in Zambia. We also provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Health.

Up to


of medical equipment is out of service.

Chronic Malnutrition

The country is also experiencing a rise in obesity, diabetes and cancer. Zambia is critically short of nutritionists and dieticians.


In partnership with the University of Zambia, THET started the country’s first training programme for nutritionists, helping to design and deliver BSc and MSc courses at the University.

in children under five


suffer from chronic malnutrition in zambia

Surgical Care

In Zambia, 80.7% of the population (11,704,700 people) lives in an area that is more than two hours from a surgical facility. As a result, many common, easily treatable conditions become fatal, such as obstructed labour, appendicitis, road traffic injuries, burns and falls.

With only 0.93 anaesthesia providers per 100,000 people compared to 20.7 per 100,000 in the UK, the anaesthesia specialty is under-developed and under-resourced in Zambia. THET works with the Ministry of Health and the University of Zambia to deliver the first postgraduate training programme for physician anaesthestists.


You can read our Zambia Strategic Plan 2017-2021 here.

in low and middle income countries, as many as

9 out of 10

people cannot access basic surgical and anaesthetic care


Health Technology Management Improvement Programme

AIM: Since our successful UNICEF-funded pilot project in 2017, we have expanded our support for the placement of BioMedical Equipment Technologists (BMETs) in a further eighteen district level hospitals across four provinces to increase the up-time of medical equipment.

The sponsored BMETs are also supported through mentoring and provided with basic toolkits to ensure that not only are they confidence in their abilities but also able to undertake their responsibilities on a practical level.


  • The Ministry of Health,
  • SIDA,
  • Gradian Health Systems

Impact: Our pilot demonstrated that over a course of eight months, supported BMETs were able, on average, to increase to time the medical equipment in their hospitals is functioning to 93% of the time, compared to 74% which was measured at the baseline. We expect to see similar, if not better results in this phase of the programme.

Apart from repairing machines when broken down, we are also supporting the BMETs to develop inventories and introduce preventative maintenance activities which will lengthen the life span of vital devices and ensure that more patients can receive the treatment they require.


MMed Pathology Placements                                                    

AIM:  THET is supporting international clinical placements of 2 MMed Pathology students in laboratories in South Africa.

As part of our ongoing work to strengthen the capacity of pathology services in Zambia this project aims to provide an opportunity of students to develop their skills and gain exposure to a variety of laboratory contexts and enable them to strengthen the quality of laboratory services available in Zambia.


  • ACP
  • University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka (UTH)
  • University of Zambia, School of Medicine (UNZA, SoM)


Volunteer Placement Pilot Project

AIM: To gain an improved understanding of the impact of coordination on the implementation and impact of volunteer placements within the Zambian Health System and volunteers who undertake placements.

In 2018, THET conducted a Volunteer Placement Feasibility Study in Zambia which outlined the global health volunteering landscape in Zambia and formulated recommendations around placement design and delivery in the country.  Based on the information collected from the study as well as the desire for overseas volunteers expressed by Zambian partners on the ground, THET developed of a pilot project for volunteer placements in 2019 which saw the placement of two pediatricians and a management consultant placed in two district level hospital.

In 2020 we are looking to place up to 8 volunteers in district level hospitals for 3 to 6 months in the following areas:

  • Internal Medicine,
  • Nursing (Adult, Neonatal and Critical Care),
  • Midwifery,
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology,
  • Orthopaedics,
  • Management and Administration

We will also be offering volunteer bursaries for existing health partnerships to support volunteers within their projects.


  • The Ministry of Health
  • Health Education England
  • Lusaka Provincial Health Office

For more information about volunteering with THET in Zambia, click here.


For further information about THET’s work in Zambia please contact our Country Coordinator, Linnet Griffith-Jones.

"It’s amazing that once people thought training pathologists in Zambia was impossible, now we are able to see the fruits of our training being brought to the poorest of our people, it is truly humbling. We only hope such partnerships continue."

Dr Francis Musonda - MMed Pathology Student

Hero image

Previous Projects:

Human Resources for Health:

AIM: The programme aimed to develop relevant, quality, local training programmes for particularly needed health specialty areas.

This includes high level specialist training in areas as diverse as Anaesthesia, Pathology and Psychiatry, as well as developing the first pre-service training programme for medical equipment maintenance professionals.

  • The programme responded to critical needs in health service capacity, identified by the Zambian Ministry of Health.
  • The programme was funded by DFID/UK Aid.


  • The Ministry of Health,
  • The Ministry of Community Development,
  • Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurial Training Authority (TEVETA).
  • University of Zambia’s School of Medicine
  • Northern Technical College (NORTEC).

Collaborators included: UNICEF, the Beit Trust, the Society of Anaesthetists of Zambia (SAZ), the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (AAGBI), the Harvard Medical School Programme for Global Surgery and Social Change (PGSSC), the University Health Network, Toronto, and the Aga Khan University, Nairobi.

Impact: The programme has seen the development of four new health specialist training programmes in Zambian institutions, three of which are at Masters of Medicine level, training specialist physicians.

  • 184 students have entered training with 43 graduating so far.
  • The number of practicing specialists in each of the three areas has more than doubled due to the training programmes, and the medical equipment maintenance professionals (Biomedical Engineering Technologists) are the first to be trained in Zambia, and some of the first to be trained in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The programme has also assisted the development of two national professional bodies representing the interests of health workers.



AIM: Our Nutrition Programme was implemented between July 2011 and November 2017, in response to Zambia’s urgent need for well-qualified nutritionists and dieticians. The programme’s aim is to train nutritionists and dieticians to tackle Zambia’s urgent need to reduce chronic malnutrition.


  • The University of Zambia,
  • The Ministry of Health,
  • The Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health,
  • The National Food and Nutrition Commission,
  • The Nutrition Association of Zambia.

Impact: 29 nutritionists were trained (22 female and 7 male).

71 health care workers including nutritionists, nurses and clinical officers were trained in Quality improvement (QI) in relation to the management of acute malnutrition.