For many people in Kenya, travel to clinics may take hours or days. For people with diabetes, one program brings home-based healthcare to them.

OCT 23 2018

In the most rural parts of the world, such as western Kenya, quality healthcare is hard to come by. With limited access to healthcare, incomplete training, and poor supply chains complicating care, many Kenyans suffer from chronic health problems, like diabetes, that often go undiagnosed and untreated.

That was the case for Kenya's remote populations until the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) was created and Abbott and its foundation, the Abbott Fund, joined together to make a difference.

Based in western Kenya, AMPATH dispatches health workers that provide home glucose monitoring to hundreds of patients. The goal is to provide care that doesn't require prolonged travel to a hospital or clinic, which is often a hardship for those without reliable transportation.

With the Abbott Fund's support, AMPATH has trained more than 1,000 community health workers, reached more than 400,000 Kenyans (and counting) through its diabetes education efforts, and screened 134,000 Kenyans across 68 facilities. The partnership has facilitated over 12,500 patients being enrolled in to diabetes care with 74 percent showing improvement in blood sugar control after 3 months.

Abbott and the Abbott Fund's role in expanding access to healthcare in Africa

Since 2007, Abbott and the Abbott Fund have invested $5 million to support AMPATH's diabetes program, and Abbott has also donated products worth more than $3 million.

While AMPATH’s largest program is HIV testing and treatment, the program has steadily been building care systems focused on care for other chronic diseases. The Abbott Fund was a catalyst in helping them expand their services to include screening and care for and treatment of diabetes. Today, the group provides sustainable and ongoing management, quality care and support for Kenyans.

Through its partnership with Abbott, AMPATH is providing comprehensive care across a large area of western Kenya and making a positive impact on their lives and their communities.

Mobile technology to the rescue

Mobile technology makes it possible. AMPATH has long been a pioneer of using devices to help identify, treat, and monitor patients including developing an electronic medical record system that became OpenMRS now in use in over 60 countries, using GPS for home based counseling and testing, and use of phones or tablets for patient encounters in remote sites.

AMPATH also taps into cellphone technology to enable self-monitored blood glucose readings with phone-based support that helps Kenyans track their own health while keeping AMPATH workers updated on their progress. Participants have seen a reduction in blood glucose (as measured by HbA1c) of more than 30 percent thanks to this strategy.

Community-based programs

In addition, AMPATH is aimed at economically empowering the communities to promote good health by supporting community groups. These groups are trained to carry out small-scale income-generating activities and also serve as a platform for community-based education, service delivery, and information-sharing within their communities.

For those participants and many others, AMPATH's programs do more than diagnose and treat chronic diseases. Perhaps the organization's most important job is to put control back into the hands of Kenya's most remote populations so that they can manage their own health and the health of their families and communities. This is exemplified through Kenyan leadership in every AMPATH program, education initiatives to improve local health care capacity, and partnership with the Kenyan government and Ministry of Health.