It was 2001 when Andy Wilson, now the vice president of the Abbott Fund Tanzania, traveled to Kenya to visit a friend. Though he was excited to see East Africa for the first time, it didn't take him long to recognize that there was a dire need for better healthcare. The region lacked sufficient medical services and was facing a widespread and growing HIV/AIDS pandemic.
That trip to Kenya compelled Andy to take his professional skills to the next level, serving those in need far from his Pennsylvania home: "I was profoundly moved by what I saw. I needed to do something that made a difference in addressing the key challenges there," Andy says. "I got it in my head that I wanted to help strengthen healthcare in Africa, to help physicians treat patients with HIV."
Andy had already been at Abbott for more than 12 years in many different roles, starting in sales before working his way up to various management positions. Once Andy returned stateside, he did extensive research on health issues in Africa and how he could help. He found out that Abbott's foundation, the Abbott Fund, was already working in Tanzania, including supporting children affected by HIV/AIDS and addressing key needs in the country's health system.
He reached out to the Abbott Fund, and found out there was an opportunity to get involved. "I started working with the Abbott Fund on a three-month assignment," Andy says. "That was in 2004, and I haven't left."
With the Abbott Fund's passion for innovation and Andy's drive and creativity, his team brought major healthcare advancements to a country that desperately needed it.