Dr Kanyanta Sunkutu:

currently employed as a Technical Specialist in the Family Planning team in charge of Reproductive Health Commodity Security (RHCS) for the UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO). A Chevening Scholar, he holds medical qualifications (BSc; MBChB) from the University of Zambia’s School of Medicine and a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) from the Nuffield Institute of the University of Leeds, UK. He also has a Higher National Diploma in Health Management (HND) from the Pan-African Institute for Health and the Dutch Royal Tropical Institute (KIT). Dr Sunkutu has recently been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health (FRSPH).

He has 20 years post-graduate experience in public health programming at district, national and international levels, working with governments, international NGOs, multi-laterals, including the UN System.  He has also taught Public Health at the University of Zambia as an Honourary Lecturer.

His interest in Global Health Diplomacy is oriented towards a socio-development approach in resolving public health challenges. He has been actively involved in identifying sustainable solutions for reproductive health services in East and Southern Africa through Regional Economic Communities (RECs), using Total Market Approaches (TMA) and championing the increased use of generic contraceptives and other reproductive health medicines. This has also involved standardising and harmonising quality assurance and other supply chain related systems and approaches, as well as seeking innovative approaches to programming. Additionally, he is also working on innovation and increasing efficiencies in LMIS, as well as end-to-end visibility in supply chains. He is a father and an ardent boxing and soccer fan.



● Dr Kanyanta Sunkutu, a medical doctor and Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health (FRSPH), is a dedicated and highly motivated professional who uses public health interventions to foster social development and empowerment of marginalised societies, especially young people and women. Amongst significant strengths are resource mobilisation (both financial and human capital), generating and using evidence for decision-making and promoting innovation to reduce the costs (time, funds, etc) in implementing development and managing change.

i.More than 18 years’ experience at district, national and international levels in public health programming, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation in the public sector, international NGO setting and the UN System. Significant skills in health systems strengthening

ii.Experience with managing varied funding mechanisms, donor agencies and working within the UN System at country and international level, e.g. bilaterals like USAID, JICA, DFID and the Global Fund; worked with WHO and UNFPA.

iii.Fostering strategic partnerships with Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the African Union (AU) and NEPAD to harmonise and standardise reproductive health commodity quality assurance systems in the region; as well as generic substitution in response to austerity.

  • Highly versatile and willing to learn and take on new challenges, e.g. effective involvement and contribution to the UNFPA assessment of setting up an innovation hub; fostering innovation within ESARO.
  • Evidence informed decision-making through analyses of existing data or generating new data, including coordinating multi-country studies.



i) Dec ’13 – to date: Reproductive Health Commodity (RHCS)/Comprehensive Condom Programming (CCP) Technical Specialist – UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO), Johannesburg.


  • Strategic organisational realignment: In response to contracting resources and as part of comprehensive austerity measures, provided leadership so that ESARO moved towards producing high level knowledge products to achieve the following:
    • Strategic information for sustainable family planning services and health diplomacy interventions by conducting total market approach studies in ten countries; identifying sustainable financing options for selected countries and linking country challenges to matching high impact interventions.
    • Advocacy and capacity building for generic substitution of innovator RH medicines with generic brands to maintain same volumes of commodity support with comparable quality in times of austerity.
    • Automation of the SDP survey to save time and other resources, and increase accuracy of results and ease of access to information.
    • Increasing visibility of reproductive health supplies down the supply chain, in response to audit recommendations, by initiating bar-code track-and-trace inventory management.
    • Engaging New York University’s Capstone Project to work on setting country-specific benchmarks for the FP2020 indicators to enable the setting of country-specific milestones towards meeting country- specific benchmarks of halving unmet need.
  • Change Management: As focal point person for Botswana, worked with regional office senior management to transition the Botswana Country Office into a new management structure and office typology based on local management so as to align with new Business Model and maintain UNFPA presence and influence within reduced resources available to Middle Income Resources.
  • Advocacy, Policy Dialogue and Strategic Partnerships: Facilitated the institutionalisation of Reproductive Health Quality Assurance by getting Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to introduce activities and budgets for the functioning of the East, Southern and Horn of Africa (ESHA) RHCS TWG in order to increase access to commodities and harmonise and standardise Quality Assurance.
  • Country Support and Capacity Building: Facilitated country-specific capacity building plan in response to country technical assistance needs covering, among others:
    • Strengthen reproductive health commodity security by building the capacity of countries in Logistics and Supply Management using the Country Commodity Manager (CCM) and in partnership with CSB facilitating feasibility study to test the Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR) in in selected East African Community countries.
    • Reviewing country specific data to formulate long term country-specific Family Planning targets to ensure that countries may achieve the FP 2020 targets and contribute towards harnessing the benefits of the Demographic Dividend.
  • Innovation and Knowledge Management: Contributed significantly to the on-going formulation of a regional innovation agenda:
    • Facilitating the piloting of bar-code track and trace solution to SCM in Botswana as a good practice to showcase to other countries.
    • Facilitating partnership for strengthening supply chain capacity, as part of general health systems strengthening, through the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to implement “just-in-time” deliveries of commodities.
    • Contributed significantly to conceptualising the ESARO Innovation Hub project submitted for funding that lead innovation activities not only in the region but in for the whole organisation.
    • Partnering with various Big-Data organisations to facilitate identification of Big-Data correlates of indicators currently in use in UNFPA Mandate areas in order to have real time data and increase responsiveness, especially in humanitarian settings
    • Multi-country studies in Total Market Approach (TMA) of reproductive health commodities and services, task-shifting for reproductive health and financing trends in reproductive health to generate data for advocacy and policy dialogue.
  • Resource Mobilisation & Leveraging: Increasing Strategic partnerships to mobilise and leverage country and other resources for the UNFPA core mandate themes from DFID (contributed significant to the successful $29,000 grant); facilitating the inclusion of two additional RECs – the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC); internal UN resources from UNAIDS for condom programmes,


  • Contribute to the development and fostering of networks and partnerships with donors, the academic community and professional associations, and other stakeholders to promote issues in the substantive area within the overall mandate of UNFPA and broader development initiatives.
  • Create visibility for UNFPA and promote the institutionalization of research, knowledge and exchange on issues for the substantive area among networks of institutions, to support the implementation of the ICPD PoA and the achievement of the MDGs and advocacy for the unfinished ICPD agenda in the post-2015 Development Agenda.
  • Undertake active environmental scanning (in area of expertise and work) at sub regional and regional levels and in liaison with country offices as well, in order to identify gaps and opportunities for timely UNFPA interventions – special attention would be placed on commodity stocks and and the logistic systems of countries;
  • Contribute regional perspectives to the elaboration of UNFPA Strategic Plan and develop programmes with sub regional and regional intergovernmental entities in its implementation and with a specific reference to initiatives with RECs on RHCS standards and practices; updated development policies, development frameworks, technical and programme guidance and tools in RHCS and Comprehensive Condom Programming
  • Undertake representation tasks, if assigned, in area of work as well as in advocacy and policy dialogue at sub-regional, regional and other forums to elaborate regional and/or overall UNFPA’s perspectives;
  • Provide advice and strategic support and guidance in area of work in the context of emergency preparedness, humanitarian assistance, recovery and transition.
  • Facilitate evidence base for planning by assessing gaps and constraints to programme implementation on regional and country programmes and organize sub-regional, regional or inter-country training and capacity development activities, designing monitoring schemes to assess utilization of new skills-set.
  • Provide regional perspective into the preparation, revision, adaption of training materials, manuals and tools, ensuring their availability and monitored use in order to assess their utility and effectiveness.


ii) Mar ‘11 – Dec ‘13: CCP Programme Specialist – UNFPA ESARO, Johannesburg.


While the position was CCP, the actual remit was reproductive health.

  • Conducted a Rapid Assessment of Comprehensive Condom Programming (CCP) and Reproductive Health Commodity Security (RHCS) in Eastern and Southern African Countries; validated and disseminated the report and used it as basis for country programming from 2012 onwards. Leading to:
    • Developing condom brands for young people in 4 countries
    • Training all countries in East and Southern Africa (ESA) in CCP
    • Formulating/Revising/updating CCP strategies/interventions for all ESA countries
    • Training a pool of consultants in FP, RHCS and CCP
    • Innovative demand generation activities for young people in selected countries
    • Assessment of determinants of condom use among young people in Swaziland
  • Facilitated the initiation of harmonisation and standardisation of reproductive health commodity quality assurance (see http://esaro.unfpa.org/public/op/preview/news/pid/13988), including male and female condoms in ESA, that resulted in:
    • Formation of the East, Southern and Horn of Africa (ESHA) RHCS Technical Working Group with Regional Economic Communities.
    • Facilitated Consensus Generation on Post-Shipment Testing of condoms
    • Assessment of the capacity of national laboratories to test condoms, in collaboration with the Procurement Services Branch (PSB) to inform
  • Contributing to evidence-based formulation of country work-plans, e.g. FP Knowledge Sharing for FP target countries; total market approach (TMA) for condom marketing; analysis of country commodity status using the Country Commodity Manager (CCM) software.
  • Responding to country programming challenges, examples being:
  • Provided technical support to the Fact Finding Mission on condom shortages in Kenya that formulated remedial measures whose implementation has provided an early warning mechanism to mitigate against recurrence of shortages

Capacities and responsibilities:

  • Provide technical support for Family Planning (FP) and Reproductive Health Commodity Security (RHCS) and Comprehensive Condom Programming (CCP) to country offices and national partners in the region
  • Fostering strategic regional partnerships in FP, RHCS and CCP
  • Develop capacity of country office staff and national partners in FP, RHCS and CCP
  • Develop and disseminate evidence and knowledge for results-based decision making at country and regional level


iii) Sept 02 – 2011: Country Team Adviser/NPO (HIV & AIDS) – WHO Zambia Country Team.


  • Formulating Hiring Criteria and Incentive Options for Community-Based Volunteers (http://www.who.int/workforcealliance/knowledge/themes/communityworkersincentives.pdf.)
  • Provided technical support to the National Agency to Combat AIDS (NACA) and Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), Nigeria in writing the Global Fund Round 6 and Round 7 HIV and AIDS proposal for Nigeria.
  • Participated in aligning and harmonising UN support in Zambia by participating in the formation of the first Zambian Joint UN Team on AIDS and the Joint Plan of Support
  • Providing high level and strategic technical support to formulate the HIV Workplace Programme for the National Assembly of Zambia covering both Members of Parliament and employees.
  • Conceptualised and spearheaded the High Level Male Circumcision Advocacy meeting that resulted in the Zambian Ministry of Health officially adopting male circumcision. Contributed significantly to:
    • the national MC situation analysis – formulated the questionnaires and designed the data collection system
    • 2010 – 2020 National MC Strategy and Implementation plan.
  • Commissioned the Rapid Assessment of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) implementation that led to national policy change – removing cost-sharing that was identified as largest barrier: resulted in 56% increase in uptake within 3 months.
  • Provided technical support and oversight to link ART to community under-served communities through the national referral guidelines for community ART;

Capacities and responsibilities:

  • Commissioning and participation in operational research to provide evidence-based technical support to HIV & AIDS policy-making , planning, resource allocation planning and implementation, e.g. Rapid ART Status Assessment; Requirements for linking community-based activities to ART; How to Involve Traditional and Religious Structures in HIV & AIDS Programming, etc;
  • Supporting and facilitating normative guidance to the Ministry of Health, National AIDS Council and other organisations as it relates to HIV in general, including ART.
  • Participating in the Joint UN Team on AIDS;
  • Representing the UN System in general and WHO in particular on the Zambian CCM;
  • Supporting the training of various levels of cadres in HIV & AIDS, including ART providers.
  • Providing technical support to various Technical Working Groups of the National AIDS Council (NAC);
  • Building capacity of national staff in HIV & AIDS prevention and control methodologies through training workshops and technical advise;
  • Working with other partners to set a common agenda for HIV & AIDS work in the country;
  • Participating in evaluating national HIV prevention, control, treatment, care and support programmes for effectiveness
  • Participation in WHO Africa Region policy setting, programme planning and resource mobilisation workshops;


iii) Mar 02 – Sept 02:  Independent Public Health Consultant. Disease Prevention and Control;  strengthening health management systems, with special interest in the prevention of Childhood Illnesses (especially vaccine preventable ones); HIV & AIDS; Developing Health Management Systems

Capacities and responsibilities:

  • Worked as a WHO consultant in very difficulty environments – Northern Nigerian State of Borno in the Polio Eradication Initiative, overseeing local staff at LGA level; overseeing planning and implementing of programmes; Participating in strengthening routine immunisation through static points; capacity building of state and LGA level staff; giving support to logistics management and maintenance of the cold chain; routine reports to national level.
  • Capacity building and training of various levels of health workers.
  • Participated in project/programme conceptualisation.


iv) 1999 – 3/2002: Project Manager – Cross Border Initiative HIV & AIDS Project (“Corridors of Hope”). World Vision – Zambia, on secondment from the Ministry of Health. The Project had a lot of funding and implementing partners. Funded by JICA and USAID through Family Health International (FHI). The project was co-implemented by World Vision Zambia and Society for Family Health (PSI – Zambia)

Technical support to other World Vision Zambia health programmes – child survival and child protection, nutritional, maternal health, malaria prevention and control.


  • Increased the resource base from the initial US$ 485,000 over four years to US$ 835,000 over the same period through proposal development for funding;
  • Expanded project from initial three to six sites
  • Successfully advocated for the modification of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) treatment algorithms for the benefit of sex workers.
  • Increased sex workers’ access to STI treatment in all six sites – mobile outreach STI treatment services, and linkages to existing public and private sector static health facilities;
  • Integrating of project objectives in the action plans of the respective District Health Management Teams (DHMT) for sustainability;
  • Provided technical support to World Vision Mozambique to develop a proposal for a sex worker and truck driver programme that was funded by the Department for International development (DFID);
  • Authored the Health and HIV chapter of The Civil Society Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper for Zambia;


  • Formulating, implementing and monitoring peer education strategies in all the sites targeting truckers and sex workers; the bridging populations of cross-border traders, men – in – uniform, money changers and clearing agents; and the general population. Peer education is done through participatory drama, song and dance, community meetings and one on one encounters;
  • Formulating strategies and promoting condom use (both male and female) in high risk sex encounters in the border sites;
  • Formulating proposals and other funding strategies for the project;
  • Advocacy on the rights of sex workers; the duration of customs and immigration clearance of truck drivers at border points; and girl-child education;
  • Reporting to multiple donors Over – seeing a work force of nine site co-ordinators, eighteen health care providers and one hundred and forty five peer educators in the various sites;
  • Providing technical backup to other World Vision Zambia activities – malaria control, child survival programmes and maternal health.


v) 1997 – 1998: Study leave – reading for my MPH at the Nuffield Institute for Health, Leeds University, United Kingdom


vi) 1995 – 1997: District Director for Health, Mufulira District Health Management Board (DHMB).


  • Revamped routine immunisation (EPI) from 65% to the national target of 85%.
  • Over-saw successful National Immunisation Days (NIDs) – involved community mobilisation and sensitisation; vaccine logistical management – ordering, collection, storage and distribution; monitoring of activities during the actual days of immunisation and ensuring that all stations are adequately stocked with vaccines.
  • Introduction of the Safe-motherhood/Reproductive Health Initiative in the district, including the supermarket approach to service provision
  • Enhanced community participation in HIV & AIDS health services delivery by spear-heading the setting up of new home-based care services in Kamuchanga, Murundu and Chibolya townships.
  • Standardised malaria prevention and treatment in the district for public and private service providers.
  • Introduced community participation in health needs identification and intervention planning, especially mothers in Child health programmes;
  • Introduced community based nutrition programmes
  • Revamped hospital operations resulting in a 60% drop of referrals (and costs!) to the ZCCM facilities;


  • Chief Executive Officer of the District Health Management Team (DHMT), the decision-making body of the DHMB.
  • Planning, implementing and monitoring health interventions for a district of 200,000 people; directly in charge of one hospital and seven health centres;
  • In charge of the team developing district action plans for grant funding from GRZ and the donor community and making quarterly progress reports on fund utilisation to GRZ and other donors.
  • Surveillance of district health indicators, especially infant mortality rate (IMR), maternal mortality ratio (MMR) and adult HIV & AIDS prevalence.
  • Assessing felt community health needs through PRA (especially Focus Group Discussions and Key Informant Interviews) for planning purposes.
  • Supervising senior health workers under the DHMB.


viii) 1994 –1995: Senior Resident Medical Officer, Ndola Central Hospital

Responsibilities: Patient care and supervision of interns.


ix) 1993 – 1994: Junior Resident Medical Officer, Ndola Central Hospital

Patient care.



Higher National Diploma in District Health Management, HND (DHM); Pan – African Institute for Development in Eastern and Southern Africa (PAID-ESA), Kabwe, Zambia, underwritten by The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) of The Netherlands – 2001

Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH), University of Leeds, Nuffield Institute for Health, Leeds, UK. Obtained MPH, with distinction in Population and Family Planning; and Health System Research modules. – 1998

Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MB, ChB), University of Zambia School of Medicine. Awarded the Charles and Walter Fischer Memorial Prize for the Best Graduating Student in Surgery; Secretary-General of the University of Zambia Medical Students’ Association (UNZAMEDSA). – 1993

Bachelor of Science Human Biology (BSc), University of Zambia School of Medicine. Best student in biochemistry, with a distinction in psychology.1989

Computer Skills

EPP, SPECTRUM, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, the Internet and some knowledge EPI info 2000 programmes.



Past Chair – Grant Management Committee of the Zambian Non-Government Organisations’ Coordinating Committee for Gender and Development (NGOCC),overseeing a grant portfolio of USD 2 million for community based female economic empowerment, human rights and HIV programmes.

Past Board Chairperson for FLAME, an NGO that deals with street kids, vulnerable women, orphans and HIV & AIDS in Lusaka, Zambia;

Past Member – Institute of Directors (IoD) Zambia