Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
The fight against tuberculosis (TB) in Kyrgyzstan is a complicated one, due in no small part to the challenge of effectively diagnosing and treating TB in the country's penitentiary system. Prisons in Kyrgyzstan are hotspots for TB infection, posing health risks to prisoners and also the population at large when prisoners with infectious TB are released into civilian society. The Abt Associates' USAID-funded ZdravPlus Project and its partner Project HOPE are working to find solutions to this important public health challenge.
As a first step, ZdravPlus conducted an in-depth study of the barriers prisoners faced in accessing follow-up treatment after release from prison — follow ups are necessary to ensure effective treatment and prevent the emergence of drug-resistant strains of TB. An assessment of coordination between the Ministries of Health, Justice, and Internal Affairs found shortcomings in the working mechanisms that would allow these bodies to collaborate effectively within prisons before prisoners are released and across prison and civilian systems after release. Stakeholders were confident, however, that much could be gained through improving legislation and policy, ensuring effective communication, and streamlining roles and responsibilities.
Following the initial study, USAID joined stakeholders in developing the program "TB Patients in Prison: Before and After Release." This multi-agency program includes:
The national program was officially adopted last year, forming the legal and structural basis necessary for stakeholders to join together in providing effective TB care for released prisoners and reducing the public health risk of TB infection in the general population.
The ZdravPlus Program
The ZdravPlus Project builds on the successes of the five-year USAID-funded ZdravReform Project, also led by Abt Associates. ZdravPlus continues to provide technical assistance and training to improve the quality and efficiency of health care services in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.