Abbott Laboratories

Nationwide Strengthening of Hospital System in Tanzania Marks New Era in Fight Against AIDS in Africa

    Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (ots/PRNewswire) -

    - The Abbott Fund and the Government of Tanzania Dedicate New Hospital Facilities to Meet Long-Term Needs of Patients with HIV/AIDS and Other Diseases

    In a ceremony today, Abbott CEO Miles White joined Tanzanian President  Benjamin William Mkapa in dedicating a new state-of-the-art outpatient  treatment center and clinical laboratories at Muhimbili National Hospital.  The new facilities will dramatically improve the care of people with HIV/AIDS  and other chronic diseases, benefiting up to 1,000 patients a day. The event marks a key milestone for the nationwide Abbott Fund initiative, one of the  most comprehensive efforts in Africa to strengthen a country's health care  system to meet the lifelong treatment needs of people living with HIV.

    "The dedication of these new hospital buildings symbolizes the sweeping changes that we are implementing throughout the country's health care system to address the AIDS epidemic and will further our goal of expanding the national treatment program to reach more Tanzanians living with HIV," said President Mkapa. "Through our successful partnership with the Abbott Fund, we are providing Tanzanian health professionals with resources and tools to more effectively manage our health care system."

    The U.S. $35 million Abbott Fund initiative is focused primarily on improving Tanzania's health system to provide quality, lifelong care for patients with HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Centered at Muhimbili Hospital, work also is underway at 82 additional hospitals and rural health centers across the country. Key areas of focus include modernizing facilities, training staff, improving hospital and patient management, and expanding capacity for testing and treatment. The Abbott Fund initiative is part of a unique public-private partnership with the Government of Tanzania. Axios, an organization specializing in health management in developing countries, is serving as the implementing partner for the initiative.

    "With President Mkapa's leadership, our partnership has enabled doctors and nurses in Tanzania to significantly enhance patient care," said Mr. White. "By modernizing the facilities, improving hospital management, and training staff, we are fundamentally expanding the country's capacity to provide quality testing and treatment of HIV and other lifelong diseases. We hope this partnership provides a model for other countries and donors to follow in addressing the tremendous challenge of AIDS in Africa."

    During the visit, President Mkapa and Mr. White heard from hospital administrators, physicians and patients about the nationwide improvements achieved through the Abbott Fund initiative, including:

@@start.t1@@      -- Training more than 1,300 physicians, nurses and other health
          professionals in HIV patient care, including testing, counseling and
          treatment.  These physicians now share their knowledge with others;
          for example, at Muhimbili Hospital, 200 of these health professionals
          serve as trainers for other physicians and staff;
      -- Expanding voluntary HIV counseling and testing (VCT) to more than
          65,000 Tanzanians, including providing VCT for the first time in some
          rural areas;
      -- Improving the quality of care for patients with the opening of the new
          three-story outpatient treatment center at Muhimbili Hospital.  HIV
          patients will now be treated in the same setting as other patients
          rather than in a separate facility, reducing stigma associated with
          HIV/AIDS;
      -- Renovating and equipping the laboratory facilities at Muhimbili
          Hospital with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, providing
          accurate, automated testing crucial for handling the long-term care
          and monitoring of HIV, hepatitis and other chronic diseases;
      -- Implementing sweeping changes in hospital management and "back office"
          functions that are critical for quality care and sustainable
          operations.  For example, one of the most extensive hospital
          information and technology systems in East Africa was installed at
          Muhimbili Hospital, and more than 1,000 staff were trained to use the
          computerized system to track information that supports patient care;
      -- Increasing hospital-generated revenue by more than 56 percent in two
          years;
      -- Assisting five hospitals (Arusha, Mara, Mwanza and Tabora regional
          hospitals and Tukuyu district hospital) in achieving accreditation as
          national HIV treatment centers, allowing sites to provide
          antiretroviral treatment to patients through a variety of sources
          including PEPFAR and the Global Fund;
      -- Upgrading facilities, systems and training at 82 sites throughout the
          country to improve VCT services and prepare for availability of
          antiretroviral treatment programs, including building new testing and
          counseling rooms to ensure patient privacy, renovating outpatient
          clinics and laboratories, donating laboratory equipment and rapid
          tests, and creating local hospital HIV management teams; and
      -- Improving infection control in the Kibong'oto National Tuberculosis
          Hospital by improving sanitation and infectious waste disposal.@@end@@

    "These new facilities and systems have already had a tremendous positive impact on patients -- from the moment people walk in for confidential HIV testing and counseling, to the time they leave the pharmacy with their medication. The new facilities also have decreased the stigma of AIDS; patients are more willing to come forward for testing and treatment," said Dr. Ferdinand Magusi, senior lecturer in internal medicine at Muhimbili Hospital. "We also have seen the positive effect the improvements have had on staff. Now my colleagues feel like they have the tools and setting to provide quality care for patients."

    "Through shared expertise, resources and commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS, the Tanzanian government's partnership with the Abbott Fund is making a significant difference in improving the lives of patients," said Hon. Anna M. Abdallah, Tanzania's Minister of Health.

    Tanzania's Aggressive Fight Against AIDS

    Tanzania has taken an active role in addressing the AIDS crisis since 2000, when President Mkapa declared HIV/AIDS a national disaster, leading to the establishment of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS). In 2003, Tanzania's cabinet endorsed the National Care and Treatment Plan and established an antiretroviral treatment program in October 2004. The government also has made a significant commitment to expanding education and prevention programs and to addressing the social impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    About Abbott and the Abbott Fund

    Abbott and the Abbott Fund are investing US$100 million over five years  to address HIV/AIDS in Africa and throughout the developing world. A  significant part of this commitment is in Tanzania. Since 2001, the Abbott  Fund has invested U.S. $35 million to modernize health care systems, expand  access to HIV testing and treatment, and assist orphans and vulnerable  children impacted by HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.

    Abbott (NYSE: ABT) is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. Abbott employs more than 60,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

    Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at http://www.abbott.com .

    Web site: http://www.abbott.com

ots Originaltext: Abbott Laboratories
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch

Contact:
Julie Ferguson of Abbott, +1-847-936-6116; or Media in Tanzania,
Louisa Muir, +255-(0)-22-2667109



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