Remembering Dr. Moses Sinkala
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing away of Moses Sinkala (MBChB, MPH), a leader in policy and research for implementation of health care delivery in Zambia for more than a decade. Dr. Sinkala was one of the first Zambian AITRP trainees at UAB and subsequently was awarded an MPH from the UAB School of Public Health in 1999. While at UAB, he developed long standing relationships with faculty and staff and continued to build productive, collaborative relationships after his return to Zambia. Dr. Sinkala also held adjunct appointments at UAB in the School of Public Health and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Upon his return to Zambia, Dr. Sinkala served in leadership roles both within the Zambian Ministry of Health, most prominently as one of the longest serving Directors of the Lusaka Urban Health District, as well as in many NGO's and served as a technical advisor and colleague to many still active within the MOH. At the time of his death he was the Country Director for the Catholic Medical Mission Board and was most active in the areas of HIV prevention and care and issues around services impacting maternal and child health.
Among Dr. Sinkala's many achievements and contributions are the following:
-Assisted with the establishment and ongoing analysis of one of the largest perinatal databases through Lusaka-wide integration of an electronic medical record for antenatal care
- Integration of nevirapine for prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and later a model for scale-up and dissemination of these services beyond Lusaka
- Scale-up of greater access to HIV care and medications initially in Lusaka's 26 clinics through PEPFAR and Global Fund support including being among the strongest and earliest advocates for access to all HIV services at no cost
- Collaborator and key member on the team doing seminal studies on the benefits of initial exclusive breast feeding in preventing HIV transmission and also the risks of abrupt weaning in the Zambian/African setting; these studies were some of the key studies informing present WHO policy on breast feeding in the setting HIV risk
- Integration and dissemination of the first broad-scale cervical cancer screening in Zambia using appropriate technologies and assessing acceptability
- Founding Board Member and first Board Chair for the Centre For Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), one of the most substantive early contributors to the Zambian national HIV prevention and care services
- Active participation in the establishment and teaching of Public Health Certificate and Diploma programs at the Chainama College of Health Sciences
- Active in the design, development, implementation and assessment of the HIV Nurse Prescriber program and served as Medical Director of the program for the first three years and was Senior Technical Advisor for the ongoing integration and dissemination of this program
- Active facilitation and participation in studies for couples counseling for HIV, models for HIV testing in clinics, integration of TB services and HIV care, microbicide trials for prevention of HIV transmission, description of factors associated with outcomes in cholera and measles outbreaks, assessments of HIV risk factors in adolescents in rural settings, assessments of malaria control programs and their outcomes
- Co-authorship on over 100 PubMed publications related to the above work.
All of the above were in addition to his dedicated service in the leadership positions he held as well as to his individual patients. Dr. Sinkala thus leaves a substantial legacy of dedication and a focus on evidence based practice and effective integration and dissemination of these practices for the improvement of health outcomes in Zambia. We are all challenged by his passing to continue this work. We are in early stages of discussions to establish a scholarship endowment fund in honor of Dr. Sinkala's and will post more details as they become available.