Abbott Fund Program to Strengthen Tanzania's Health Care System
The Abbott Fund and the Government of Tanzania have formed a unique public-private partnership to modernize the country's health care system. The Abbott Fund has invested more than USD 60 million aimed at enhancing access to health care on a national scale. Today, one in three Tanzanians with HIV taking antiretroviral therapy receive services at a facility that has benefited from Abbott Fund support. Work is being conducted across the country, including significant work at Muhimbili National Hospital, the country's leading teaching and referral hospital. Key results include a new three-story outpatient center that serves hundreds of patients a day, and a renovated laboratory that provides accurate, automated diagnostic testing crucial for lifelong monitoring of HIV and other chronic diseases. Donated laboratory equipment is maintained by engineers supported by the Abbott Fund. In 2009, a new Emergency Medical Department was opened and training programs in emergency medicine were initiated at Muhimbili. Through Abbott Fund support, emergency room services meeting international standards are now available for the first time at Muhimbili. More than 15,000 health care worker trainings have been conducted to date in Tanzania. At Muhimbili, 200 physicians now serve as trainers for other health staff. More than 250 staff have been trained in lab equipment operation, while 600 senior doctors and hospital directors have received management training. One of the most extensive hospital IT systems in East Africa has been installed at Muhimbili to track health history, referrals, test results and drug prescriptions. Volunteer Abbott employees provide technical support in construction, engineering, infection control, IT, waste management, security and lab management. Facilities, systems and training have been upgraded at 90 sites throughout the country to improve VCT services. Due to these improvements, more than 300,000 people have received VCT services. The Abbott Fund also donated 1 million HIV tests to President Kikwete's National Testing campaign. In addition, the Abbott Fund is modernizing all 23 of the country's regional-level hospital laboratories. The Abbott Fund is working with the Touch Foundation to support 105 lab technology students pursuing university degrees, and also is providing funds to upgrade the laboratory at Bugando Medical Centre, a referral hospital for a population of 13 million in the Lake Zone.