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Abbott and Abbott Fund Expand Commitment to Improving Health Care in Tanzania With Dedication of New Lab and Launch of New Diagnostic Programs


Abbott Fund Will Upgrade All of Tanzania’s Regional Hospital Laboratories, and Abbott to Provide 1 Million Free Rapid HIV Tests

Abbott’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Miles D. White joined Tanzania’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare the Hon. David Mwakyusa in Arusha today to dedicate the new Abbott Fund-supported laboratory at Mt. Meru Hospital. Mr. White also today announced two new initiatives that will improve overall access to health care, and expand access to HIV testing and care throughout Tanzania.

Specifically, Mr. White noted that Abbott Fund will work with the Government of Tanzania to modernize all of the country’s regional hospital laboratories. He also announced that Abbott will donate 1 million rapid HIV tests to support Tanzania’s national HIV testing program.

Like many countries in Africa, Tanzania continues to face significant health care challenges. Life expectancy in the country is 48 years – about 30 years less than many European countries. In addition, Tanzania has just one doctor for every 24,000 patients. One of the countries hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, about seven percent of the people in Tanzania are infected with the disease. Resource-limited health care systems, including a lack of modern hospital laboratories and trained lab workers, continue to be key barriers to scaling up HIV testing and treatment for people with HIV.

“Improving the health and health care of our people is a national priority and must involve NGOs, the private sector and international organizations,” said Minister Mwakyusa. “With these new programs and the ongoing support of Abbott and Abbott Fund, we are improving our ability to provide basic health care for people in every town and village across the country.”

Improving the country’s hospital laboratories is fundamental to improving care in Tanzania; these laboratories provide testing services crucial for diagnosis, prevention, treatment and ongoing disease monitoring of HIV/AIDS, as well as diabetes, heart disease and many other conditions.

These new initiatives build on Abbott Fund’s $50+ million investment in a unique public-private partnership with the Government of Tanzania to strengthen the country’s health care system. Abbott Fund has improved the government’s national HIV treatment program, expanding HIV testing and treatment capabilities at more than 90 health centers and rural clinics — bringing HIV care to people in some remote villages for the first time. Through these programs, nearly one in three people on HIV treatment in Tanzania are receiving care at facilities that have benefited from Abbott Fund support. Abbott Fund also recently opened a new program office in Tanzania to manage its extensive HIV/AIDS philanthropic efforts and partnerships in the country. The new office is the first outside Abbott Fund’s U.S. headquarters, and the first and only corporate foundation office in Tanzania.

“I’m proud to stand here today, five years since my first visit to Tanzania, to see how far we’ve come. Yet I recognize the work ahead of us,” said Mr. White. “Opening our first corporate foundation office in Dar es Salaam and launching these new initiatives signifies our commitment to continue to work on the ground, side by side with the government and people of Tanzania.”

Modernized Hospital Laboratory Dedicated at Mt. Meru Hospital

The newly modernized laboratory at Mt. Meru Hospital dedicated today, along with upgrades at the outpatient clinic and extensive training of staff, will improve care for 4 million people across the Arusha region. The hospital can now provide automated testing crucial for the diagnosis and continued monitoring of HIV/AIDS and many other diseases. Improvements have tripled capacity at the laboratory, which is now able to serve up to 150 patients each day versus just 45 patients prior to the renovations. In addition, specialized Abbott employee volunteers have provided technical training and support for lab staff and clinicians.

“The modernized laboratory and upgrades in outpatient care have allowed us to provide patients with the right testing and care much faster than before, which has helped us save lives,” said Dr. Omar Sharrif Chande, Interim Arusha Regional Medical Officer. “For example, now we’re able to provide test results the same day patients see the doctor, instead of waiting days or weeks in the past. This has improved patient care for many people who travel hundreds of kilometers to the hospital.”

Abbott Fund to Help Modernize Hospital Laboratories Across Tanzania

Expanding on the work already completed at the Mt. Meru laboratory and extensive earlier lab renovations at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Abbott Fund is now committing to upgrade all of Tanzania’s regional hospital laboratories. Improvements, which will depend on each hospital’s needs, may include renovating labs and training staff in lab management, and instrument use and maintenance.

Test Donation Part of Abbott’s Leadership in HIV Testing Across Africa

Abbott also today announced a donation of 1 million rapid HIV tests. The free tests will support the new national HIV testing campaign recently announced by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

Since 2001, Abbott has provided rapid HIV tests at no profit to any organization providing quality voluntary HIV counseling and testing (VCT) services in 69 countries, including all of Africa and the world’s Least Developed Countries. With rapid HIV testing, any hospital or program in a remote setting can obtain results regardless of access to laboratory equipment or electricity. To date, Abbott has shipped more than 70 million rapid HIV tests across Africa at no profit.

Abbott also is the only company that donates rapid HIV tests to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in 69 countries. Enabling pregnant women to learn their HIV status is a critical step in achieving prevention – local programs can then provide HIV-positive women with free and convenient treatment to prevent the transmission of HIV to their children. To date, Abbott has donated more than 5 million rapid HIV tests to PMTCT programs across Africa.


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