Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
World Health Day, held on April 7, is designed to draw attention to health challenges that span the globe. The day commemorates the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948.
“On World Health Day, it’s important to remember that approximately one in five people do not have access to health care,” said Lisa Matt, Abt’s vice president of International Operations. “Abt Associates is engaged in innovative programs to strengthen health care systems and improve access to health care around the world.”
Abt Associates works in 50 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Central and Southern Asia, and Latin America.
“The impact of aging on health systems, sustainable financing, and increasing access to family planning are some of the issues we’re focusing on,” Matt said.
Aging is more difficult for people who have not had access to preventive care, said John Palen, senior advisor for human resources for health in Abt’s International Health Division said in a video. “The severe shortage of health providers is the biggest problem that we face in terms of any health services that we try to deliver.”
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Liberia is changing from a country recovering from the trauma of a civil war to one creating a more sustainable health system. Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare developed a financial plan for the nation’s health system with the help of Abt Associates as part of Health Systems 20/20. The financial plan relied on health care spending data gathered by Abt, which found in part that nearly half of Liberia’s health budget comes from external sources. The program, however, is moving towards sustainability as donor funding is expected to remain flat or decline.
Read the full story at healthsystems2020.org
Women in Kolda region of Senegal launched the area’s first mutual health organization (MHO) in the summer of 2011 with the assistance of the USAID-funded PHRplus Project, led by Abt Associates. An MHO is a community-based health insurance system that helps to remove barriers to getting health care and reduces the financial burden of people suffering from an unexpected illness. Abt helped to facilitate a series of meetings among stakeholders in Kolda and helped garner support among the women’s organizations to create the MHO and form new contractual relationships with health providers to improve quality, among other work.
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President Thomas Boni Yayi announced the launch of Benin’s universal health insurance program, Régime d’Assurance Maladie Universelle in 2012. The health coverage program was originally proposed in 2008, but progress towards implementation was slow. Then in June 2010, representatives from Benin’s Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Protection, and the NGO GASVIE participated in a Health Insurance Workshop developed and delivered by Abt Associates as part of Health Systems 20/20, USAID’s flagship project for strengthening health systems worldwide. The Benin team gained a deeper understanding of how health insurance can improve financial protection, and learned from the six other Francophone African countries present at the event. They prepared an action plan to move the program forward and legislation to do so was submitted to the Cabinet in 2011. Abt Associates is part of a multi-donor group that is supporting the Benin government on RAMU implementation.
Jordanians are hearing more about the effectiveness of oral contraception in family planning, thanks to the Abt Associates-led, USAID-funded Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project. SHOPS, with the cooperation of the Jordanian Ministry of Health and the Higher Population Council, launched a media campaign this spring to educate couples about the effectiveness of oral contraception. The SHOPS project is managing a multimedia campaign that includes ads in newspapers and on TV and on the radio, informational displays at pharmacies and clinics, and physicians talking about oral contraception during media interviews. The campaign is a response to local research that found that a quarter of all births in Jordan are mistimed or unwanted and only eight percent of the population uses oral contraceptives.
Read more about the project and watch the videos at shopsproject.org
Nigerians in six states will have better access to family planning counseling through additional private health professionals through a five-year, $15 million associate award by the USAID-funded Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project. The Abt Associates-led initiative, which launched in February, is designed to address the country’s most pressing family planning challenges. The private health sector in Nigeria provides approximately 60 percent of the modern contraception used in the country.
Read the full story at shopsproject.org
Dr. Marhabo Bobojonova — a doctor in rural Sugd Oblast in northwest Tajikistan — quadrupled the number of patients she sees daily to more than 20 thanks to USAID’s Quality Health Care Project, led by Abt Associates. Dr. Bobojonova and other physicians have been trained to care for a wider range of common conditions, which helped her expand the number of patients she can see. Abt Associates has been working with Tajikistan’s Ministry of Health to train a new generation of family physicians and re-train specialists to become family doctors. The goal of the project, which operates in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, is to improve the health status of Central Asians by building the capacity of national health systems to better meet the health needs of vulnerable groups.
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Health facilities across Nigeria are using Smartphones to collect data on tuberculosis, which has eliminated the need for printed forms, minimized human error in data entry, reduced the lag time for getting data to policymakers and managers, and helped pinpoint ways to improve delivery of care, thanks in part to USAID-funded Health Systems 20/20, is USAID’s flagship project for strengthening health systems worldwide. Supervisorsconduct visits on a monthly or quarterly basis at facilities to provide comprehensive monitoring of all clinical, commodity and laboratory functions that support TB care in Nigeria, which has the highest TB burden in Africa and the fourth highest worldwide.
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.