In countries around the world, Abbott is working across its businesses and in partnerships with others to create healthier futures for families. One example: since 2014, Abbott's diagnostics business has supported the work of the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA – pictured above) to fight the AIDS epidemic in Africa, particularly among pregnant women and children – who are among the most vulnerable populations impacted by the disease.
Today, at an OAFLA meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York City, Abbott and several other organizations are being recognized by OAFLA for longstanding partnership and support, including public-private partnerships that bring together technical, financial and other resources to focus on a global health challenge such as HIV/AIDS.
Over the years, Abbott's contributions to OAFLA have included donations of life-saving HIV/Syphilis Duo rapid tests to 17 OAFLA member states, and financial grants to eight countries for community outreach programs led by African First Ladies.
The HIV/Syphilis Duo tests were used in pilot programs for testing pregnant women at antenatal clinics in order to advance treatment of these two diseases for mothers, and to help avert mother-to-child transmission. The pilots were highly successful and resulted in program expansion in the participating countries.
The First Ladies used the financial grants to increase awareness of HIV in districts with a high disease burden. The First Ladies also convened capacity-building workshops for key stakeholders, and screening and counseling services for the general population.
Most recently, Abbott has been actively supporting the "Free To Shine" campaign led by OAFLA and the African Union and including the WHO, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNDP, the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and AIDS Accountability International. The goal of Free To Shine is to accelerate actions to end AIDS in children and keep their mothers healthy.
In 2018, Abbott has funded the development of advocacy tools for the First Ladies and key partners to increase awareness of the gaps in testing and treating children living with HIV. As Free To Shine enters the implementation phase, Abbott will support capacity-building regional workshops and country symposia to help healthcare professionals effectively use diagnostics for triple testing of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis.
In remarks at today's OAFLA event, Damian Halloran, vice president, Infectious Disease – Emerging Markets for Abbott's rapid diagnostics business, said, "We're honored to work together with OAFLA to advance Free To Shine, to help support its efforts to improve the health of children and their mothers across the continent."