The program has already broken ground on building eight new second-generation health posts throughout the country's Bugesera district. Each health post will provide a wider range of services, such as prenatal and pediatric care, and testing and treatment for infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria, syphilis and hepatitis. Chronic diseases, also known as noncommunicable diseases, or NCDs such as diabetes and heart disease, are a focus as well.
To ensure the health posts meet local needs, the program is engaging the community. In-person interviews and focus groups with patients in Rwanda are identifying key needs and providing strategic guidance so that each health post can get the support, equipment and resources it needs to serve the community. The collaboration also is boosting public awareness of infectious and chronic diseases, and the services available at the health posts.
To support the effort, Abbott is developing a new panel of prenatal rapid tests, designed to combine the most commonly needed infectious disease tests during pregnancy – HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis and malaria – into a single, easy-to-use package squarely designed for use in the health posts. This is one example of Abbott's work to advance testing technologies that meet a critical health need in developing countries, specifically designed and manufactured for use in challenging, resource-limited settings.
There's a business piece of the puzzle, too. Because each health post is independently run, Abbott and Society for Family Health - Rwanda are providing training on basic business skills — such as budgeting and managing inventory, income and profits — to help the health post operators thrive.
The eight health posts are the linchpin of a six-month pilot program designed to evaluate the effectiveness of care – with an eye to creating "proof of concept" to drive broader expansion of the second-generation health posts. The evaluation will include a health economics outcome research study to demonstrate both the improvements in care and financial sustainability of the model.
Building Tomorrow's Markets
Our work in Rwanda reflects our commitment to shared impact, also known as shared value: how we create measurable business value for Abbott by identifying and addressing social problems that intersect with our business. This is an important strategy for us to grow our business in emerging and developing markets, which represent 41 percent of our sales today.
By building second-generation health posts, we're helping to bring primary testing and care closer to home for more people – with the goal of saving lives and reducing costs. By proving the effectiveness of this pioneering approach, we aim to demonstrate the value of expanding the reach of second-generation health posts across Rwanda and in other countries around the world. This will create new markets for high-quality diagnostics and medical products – which will grow opportunities for our business as well. Abbott is already a leader in delivering rapid diagnostics to address some of the greatest disease burdens in developing countries, from HIV to malaria. Expanding the reach of the new health posts creates new opportunities for us to reach even more people with our life-changing technologies.
For more examples of Abbott's shared impact, see stories on our dairy supply chain program in India, and our efforts to deliver shared value through our rapid diagnostics technologies.