Global Citizenship

Our Priorities > Enhancing Access Improving Infrastructure and Technology

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In 2001, the Abbott Fund and the Health Ministry identified Muhimbili National Hospital, the country's leading teaching and reference hospital, located in Dar es Salaam, as a starting point for a nationwide effort to help strengthen the country’s healthcare system. Muhimbili’s deteriorating facilities and services were often ill equipped to meet the needs of patients across the spectrum of care – from urgent emergency care to chronic disease management.

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Over the years, assessments of Tanzania’s healthcare system identified laboratory services as one of the weakest links in providing quality patient care, especially for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and HIV. Most public health laboratories were understaffed, and physical infrastructure and equipment were in a state of disrepair – leaving a critical gap in patient care.

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In Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third-largest city, an estimated 10 percent of adults suffer from diabetes. Centro Vivir con Diabetes (CVCD), Abbott Fund’s and Direct Relief’s local partner, diagnoses and treats patients with diabetes throughout the city while also working to raise awareness through a variety of activities, like the diabetes walk pictured here.

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Recently, the Abbott Fund helped its Bolivian partner Clinica Vivir con Diabetes to obtain iPads and the specialized programming needed to track diabetes patients. A new record is created for each new patient at the diabetes clinic.

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In 2001, Tanzania's deteriorating Muhimbili National Hospital, the country's leading teaching hospital, was selected as a starting point for improvements to the country's health system. Today, with assistance from the Abbott Fund, facilities, systems and training have been radically improved throughout the hospital and in more than 90 other Tanzania health facilities, leading to significant improvements in patient care and health outcomes.

As in developed nations, the introduction of modern information technology and digital recordkeeping can revolutionize the delivery of health care services in developing regions. Abbott is partnering with a wide range of nonprofit organizations, government agencies, health care professionals and other stakeholders to help improve health care system capacity and infrastructure through digital innovation.

For example, we are partnering with Direct Relief International to develop a new, open-source, server-based electronic medical records system to help combat Bolivia's growing diabetes problem. Supported by both grants from the Abbott Fund and donated equipment from Abbott, this system has trained hundreds of diabetes educators, identified thousands of diabetes patients and referred these patients for treatment. The system uses tablet computers equipped with GPS technology to enable mapping of patient locations, even in the poorest urban sections of the country. This data, in turn, helps public health officials conduct detailed epidemiological studies that will enable them to target educational programs and outreach services more accurately.

Tradition of Support in Tanzania

Abbott also has a long tradition of supporting health care infrastructure and technology development in Tanzania – where we have engaged in a public-private partnership with the Government of Tanzania to strengthen the country's health care system for more than 11 years. To date, Abbott and the Abbott Fund have invested more than $100 million in this comprehensive program. Our activities include working to comprehensively modernize Muhimbili National Hospital with a new emergency department and outpatient treatment center, a modernized laboratory building and a hospital-wide information technology system that tracks inventory, prescriptions and patient health history. In 2011, we completed a project to build new laboratories to improve diagnostic and monitoring capabilities at 23 regional-level hospitals. Additionally, we have supported more than 20,000 health care worker trainings in HIV care and treatment, voluntary counseling and testing, laboratory equipment operation, hospital information technology and hospital management. Abbott has also donated 1 million rapid HIV tests to launch Tanzania’s national HIV testing campaign and partnered with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative to build a pediatric AIDS Center of Excellence in Tanzania.

Note: All data reflects Abbott activities in 2012. Some content has been adjusted to remove data specific to AbbVie, which became a separate company on Jan. 1, 2013.