August 19, 2008
Simon Mphuka, the Executive Director of the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) and a good friend of the Center for Global Development (CGD), passed away on Monday, August 4th. The world, and particularly Zambia, has lost a skilled physician and public health professional, and above all, a man of faith and passion who worked tirelessly to battle AIDS in Zambia. My thoughts are with his wife and three daughters, who so generously shared Simon with many of us in the global health and development world. The world is poorer without Simon, but his dedication and commitment to saving lives will endure and will continue to enrich our efforts in the fight against AIDS.I was expecting to see Simon in Mexico City at the International AIDS Conference, where he had kindly agreed to participate in an HIV/AIDS Monitor event on AIDS funding and health systems, so I was shocked and deeply saddened by this news. I had the great pleasure of getting to know Simon over the last few years as we developed the HIV/AIDS Monitor research initiative at CGD. Simon was an important member of the Global Fund Working Group and a key member of the advisory group for the HIV/AIDS Monitor. I will miss his sharp and real, on-the-ground insight about the Global Fund and PEPFAR donor programs, as the head of an important recipient of funding from both. Forever congenial, but never concessional, Simon spoke knowledgeably about what was working and not working in the fight against AIDS in Zambia and ways in which donors could improve their policies and practices. I knew Simon only as a professional colleague/friend, but Pastor Conrad Mbewe of the church that Simon belonged to has written a very personal and moving account of Simon's life as an active member of his church and about the last few weeks off his life before his sudden demise and another about the funeral proceedings.
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