Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
Abt Associates has managed malaria control activities and provided technical assistance to examine the complex issues of developing and implementing policies and programs for malaria prevention and control in several countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. Our malaria work in these countries has helped governments and Ministries of Health successfully implement multi-faceted malaria control interventions, make more informed policy choices regarding malaria prevention and control, and access additional resources for interventions to roll back malaria.
Abt Associates' malaria-related projects include:
One of the keys to the success and sustainability of a national malaria control program (NMCP) is the organizational and management capacity of the program. To address this issue, the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) requested Health Systems 20/20 to develop a systematic method to review the management and organizational capacity of NMCPs, identify the key organizational capacity-building needs, and use the results to develop and implement a capacity improvement plan.
The review looked at seven capacity-building dimensions relevant to NMCPs (adequacy of the organizational mandate of the NMCP; capacity to develop strategies and operational plans; adequacy of the organizational structure and staffing including the physical infrastructure to house them; effectiveness of leadership and management; adequacy of core management systems — financial management, information management, and procurement/logistics; ability to coordinate effectively with stakeholders at all levels; and systems for NMCP staff to keep up to date technically). These dimensions served as the basis for structuring the data collection, analysis, and findings. The review team also surveyed the capacity of local institutions to support the NMNCP.
The purpose of the Uganda Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) project is to achieve the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) Uganda targets in indoor residual spraying. Through the Uganda IRS project, Abt Associates collaborates with the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) to implement a high quality IRS program, conduct comprehensive monitoring and evaluation, and develop national capacity to conduct IRS. The project currently covers six priority districts that are prone to outbreaks of malaria (Apac, Amuru, Gulu, Oyam, Pader, and Kitgum).
The project completed the first round of spraying in Kitgum and Pader districts in December 2009. Over 1,500 spray operators sprayed a total of 330,663 households in the two districts, achieving 98% coverage of households and protecting over 1.2 million people from malaria. Spraying in Apac and Oyam districts, which targeted 213,443 households, was completed in April, 2010. Spraying in Gulu and Amuru districts should be completed by May 2010.
The project's first quarterly report was recently featured on the President's Malaria Initiative website .
Abt Associates supports a comprehensive effort by the Government of Mali to expand the delivery of high-quality maternal and child health services to key Malian populations, particularly in rural areas, while promoting the use of services and changes in key behaviors. The five-year project, funded by USAID Mali, is known as Improving National Capacity to Implement High Impact Health Services and Promote Healthy Behaviors in Mali or ATN Plus. ATN Plus works with the Malian Ministry of Health (MOH), USAID and other USAID-funded organizations to strengthen MOH systems, supporting high-impact services, such as immunization, Vitamin A supplementation, nutrition, control of diarrheal disease, malaria, family planning and reproductive health programs, and information, education and communication/behavior change communications (IEC/BCC).
ATN Plus's key role in malaria prevention and treatment is to provide technical and financial assistance to the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) for policy development and capacity building among providers for: malaria case management and supervision, pre transfer treatment of severe malaria, facilitative supervision, and improved focused antenatal care (Malaria in pregnancy). ATN Plus supports the NMCP in the implementation of its workplan which includes the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) designated Malaria Operational Plan activities among others.
During 2009, ATN Plus, in addition to technical and financial support to NMCP and in close collaboration with the PMI team, organized the training of trainers in facilitative supervision in six regions to form six teams of 10 supervisors each and carried out regional training and monitoring of malaria control activities to monitor the Expanded Program for Immunization and antenatal care “plus” programs including the correct treatment of malaria cases within 24 hours.
ATN Plus builds on the successes of the USAID Increased Utilization of High Impact Health Services project implemented by Abt Associates from 2003 to 2008. Under the project, Abt Associates played a key role in helping the National Malaria Control Program improve treatment and prevention policies based on international best practices, including introducing artemisin-based combination therapy (ACT) for treatment and intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) with Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (S-P) for chemoprophylxis, while simultaneously improving malaria prevention by expanding distribution of bednets through well child and antenatal care sessions.
Through the USAID-funded Health Services and Systems Program (HSSP) in Zambia , Abt Associates, provides technical assistance to the MOH to strengthen the capacity of the National Malaria Control Centre (NMCC) and is supporting implementation of an expanding IRS program.
Accomplishments include implementation of spraying activities in 15 districts targeting more than 700,000 households, and achieving 95-percent coverage. Abt Associates also helped the NMCC to expand IRS to 36 districts in 2009, and assisted the NMCC in quantifying insecticides, equipment, and sprayers for IRS operations.
We strengthened local systems for managing IRS programs and procured and distributed personal protective equipment in the 15 USAID target districts. To build sustainable IRS capacity in Zambia, Abt Associates trained 72 master trainers, along with district coordinators, supervisors, and environmental health officers. In addition, we trained 1,300 spray operators as well as storekeepers in 15 districts. Abt Associates also trained 43 district personnel in the use of GPS/GIS for the mapping of IRS areas and 45 IRS supervisors in program and data management and conducted post-spraying meetings in 15 districts.
In October 2009, the Abt Associates-led consortium was selected as one of the winners of USAID's Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) IQC . The purpose of the IQC is to support the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), and USAID Missions and Bureaus in planning and implementing IRS programs with the overall goal of reducing the burden of malaria in Africa. This IQC is designed to enhance USAID's ability to implement IRS programs on the ground through cost-effective commodities procurement and logistics systems, access to technical expertise, and implementation of IRS in countries affected by malaria.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research 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.