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Abt Associates To Improve Delivery of Health Services to 30 Million People in Democratic Republic of Congo

Among Innovations, Drones Will Deliver Essential Medicines to Conflict-Affected Areas
ROCKVILLE, MD — Over the next seven years, Abt Associates will work with the Ministry of Health in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to provide quality integrated primary health care to 30 million people.
Under the terms of a $314 million contract funded by the United States Agency for International Development, Abt and its partners will help to significantly improve access to high-quality health services in nine provinces located primarily in the eastern and southeastern areas of the country.
Maternal and infant mortality rates in DRC are among the highest in the world, and approximately 30 percent of children under five are malnourished. These issues have been exacerbated by ongoing conflict and structural barriers to accessing health services (e.g., distance to health facilities and lack of transport, low literacy levels and inequitable gender norms), which also have perpetuated unhealthy behaviors.
With the creation of 15 new provinces in 2015, the country has decentralized the management of health services, but these new provinces lack the systems, structures and staff to operate effectively. 
“With this investment, USAID will enable the DRC to address the challenges identified in its national health plan, including the need for higher-quality service delivery and better infrastructure, equipment, human resources, commodities supply, health financing and governance,” said Jay L. Knott, Chief Business Officer.
Over the project’s lifespan, Abt will ensure local health care staff have the right training, support and incentives to be successful, and that facilities are improved and drugs and supplies are in the right place at the right time. Taking advantage of new technologies, drones will be used to deliver medicine to conflict-affected areas and those places with few roads. Other cutting-edge innovations include creating a performance dashboard to enable adaptive, real-time, data-driven decision making, supporting household behavioral change through one-way messaging and conducting rapid mobile surveys on socio-cultural barriers to health service use.
“We have very specific objectives, including immunizing 88 percent of children; equipping 89 percent of health centers to offer high-quality basic care; and saving the lives of approximately 140,000 pregnant women, newborns and children,” said Knott. “Our goals are ambitious, and we have the right team to achieve them.”
Abt’s primary implementing partners are The International Rescue Committee and Pathfinder. Additional partners include the Kinshasa School of Public Health, Blue Square, i+solutions, Matchboxology, Mobile Accord, TRG and Viamo.
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security.  Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ grounded insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development.
Mary F. Maguire


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