Like many countries, Tanzania faces a host of healthcare challenges, including lack of resources, poor infrastructure and a shortage of doctors – only one for every 100,000 people. For 15 years, Abbott and the Abbott Fund have been working with Tanzania’s government to develop targeted, long-lasting solutions to the country’s critical healthcare challenges, investing more than $115 million to date, while sending scores of expert volunteers to provide training and mentoring. One key to quality healthcare in developing nations is the establishment of laboratories for accurate disease diagnosis and treatment monitoring, especially in hard-to-reach rural areas. The Abbott Fund has invested more than $10 million to support a network of 23 flexibly designed, modern labs across Tanzania. These labs are enhancing healthcare throughout the country, through faster and better testing and diagnosis, and through better professional training and information sharing. In 2014, a delegation of eight Abbott experts from our diagnostics units in Longford and Sligo spent five weeks in Tanzania, volunteering their time, knowledge and skills to help train and mentor local laboratory teams, while learning from their Tanzanian colleagues as well. Their primary objectives: to implement an integrated IT system for patient registration and lab sample management; to train local staff to use the system; and to tighten the links between the 23 national labs and the government’s Ministry of Health. Says volunteer Eimear McGlade, an Abbott project manager in our diagnostics business unit, “Following our mentoring and engagement with the laboratory staff, they have a clearer understanding of the long-term vision. They understand the objectives and the benefits IT can yield and the long-term impact it will have on improving Tanzania’s healthcare system
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