Abbott Receives Award for Expanding Access in Rwanda

Collaboration for sustainable care, testing honored with U.S. Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence.

Sustainability|Jan.06, 2021

Abbott was recognized with the U.S. Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence for our collaboration to expand access to sustainable, quality care in rural Rwanda, working together with the Rwandan Ministry of Health (MoH) and the non-profit organization Society for Family Health Rwanda (SFH Rwanda).

The annual Awards for Corporate Excellence (ACE) recognize U.S. companies that uphold high standards as responsible members of their communities and represent American values in the way they do business in their overseas operations. Abbott was honored with a 2020 ACE in the "Innovation" category.

Our work in Rwanda is one example of how we are fulfilling our purpose of helping people live fuller and healthier lives, and a key focus of our 2030 Sustainability Plan: advancing health equity through partnership. We work side-by-side with people and communities we serve, partners, governments and other stakeholders to address health disparities, expand access and remove barriers that prevent people from living healthy lives, wherever they are.

The Rwandan Ministry of Health set a vision of establishing health clinics within a 30-minute walk from all Rwandans' homes. To make this vision a reality, we worked with the Rwandan MoH and SFH Rwanda to open second-generation health posts (SGHPs) that would expand access to primary healthcare and testing in rural areas of Rwanda.

This program builds on earlier progress made by first-generation health posts. The SGHPs leverage smart design principles to optimize patient care, with expanded services including prenatal and maternity care, broader diagnostic testing and a pharmacy. More efficient operations were another focus, to establish the posts as sustainable businesses.

A 12-month pilot program launched eight rural SGHPs in the Bugesera District of Rwanda in 2019. As part of the pilot program, Abbott provided training for the health post operators and consolidated its rapid tests for syphilis, malaria, HIV and hepatitis B into one panel that requires only a single fingerstick of blood to get test results – an example of how localized innovation can help overcome barriers to care.

To gather data and demonstrate the effectiveness of the pilot program, Abbott supported several measurement efforts, including a health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) study in collaboration with Brandeis University to measure the impact of expanded health services on quality of life and patient outcomes, as well as the potential long-term cost savings for Rwanda's overall healthcare system. A measurement, learning and evaluation study also will provide a comparative analysis of patient health-seeking behavior pre- and post-SGHP openings, and provide additional data on financial and operational sustainability.

The second-generation health posts made significant impacts in local communities compared to the first-generation health posts, while operating as successful, self-sustaining businesses. A few examples:

  • They are attracting 63% more patients, with more than 120,000 people receiving health services.

  • 20% of the population in service areas – one in five people – are seeking healthcare services on a monthly basis, often for multiple diagnoses.

  • Nearly 500 babies have been safely delivered.

Based on these results, Abbott aims to work with others to scale up this approach to reach more people, in more places than ever before – across Rwanda and in other countries as well.

For More Information
To learn more about the collaboration and how it's helping communities in Rwanda, see our most recent story, Bringing Quality Care Closer to Home, and view videos and photos on our Rwanda feature page, Expanding Health Access in Rwanda. Abbott was also recently included on the Fortune 2020 Change the World list for the Rwanda collaboration – you can learn more about that honor here.