Strong health governance systems are crucial for not only the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, as well as the decrease in stigma and discrimination. Abt’s goal is to help US agencies, host country governments and international partners control the spread of HIV/AIDS.
We collaborate with donors and partner organizations around the world, from the private and public sector, at the national and local level. Our nimble approach enables us to identify and meet local needs, leverage strategic opportunities that increase access to HIV services and build effective partnerships. Most importantly, our approach helps us design context-specific programs with realistic objectives and sustainable outcomes.
To power this approach, Abt’s public health experts promote cutting-edge strategies. For example, data and information are crucial to managing national health systems and tracking international efforts to improve health outcomes. We develop and implement innovative evaluations, develop dashboards to visually depict complex information, and strengthen the capacity of client and local counterparts to use that data for decision making.
Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is a proven technique for preventing the spread of HIV. As a part of its HIV prevention strategy, Namibia has a goal of reaching 330,000 men and boys with VMMC services. However, the country lacks the public facilities needed to rapidly expand access to VMMC services. With 42 percent of Namibia’s health care providers in private practice, this sector has an important role to play, but often it is underutilized. Abt is working with health care providers in the private sector and other stakeholders to increase access to—and the affordability of—quality VMMC services.
As part of this effort, Abt, through the SHOPS Project, worked with insurance providers to introduce coverage of VMMC as a preventive benefit. Continuing this work with the Namibian private health sector under the AIDSFree Project—where Abt is a subcontractor to JSI—we introduced a subsidy to cover the uninsured in 2016. As a result of these initiatives, between November 2014 and September 2017, the private sector reported 20,948 VMMCs in Namibia—19 percent of the national total for the period. Abt’s efforts in the Khomas region of Namibia resulted in 8,846 VMMCs performed in private sector facilities between October 2016 and September 2017, representing 81 percent of all VMMCs in the region.
A working health system is one that delivers the quality health care people need, where they need it, at prices they can afford. Through the HFG Project, Abt promotes access to life-saving health care by strengthening the health finance and governance systems in over 40 partner countries. For example, Abt provided technical support to the National AIDS Coordinating Committee’s efforts to establish itself as a statutory body. We developed a national HIV policy using an inclusive, participatory process for Trinidad and Tobago. In Côte d’Ivoire, we successfully advocated for an increase in domestic budget allocation to HIV/AIDS commodities—a 400 percent increase. We also provided technical assistance to the government of Ethiopia that facilitated the institutionalization of health insurance in Ethiopia, which increased access to HIV services by making them more affordable.
Although HIV incidence is higher among transgender women than other populations, little research has been conducted to understand the unique complexities surrounding transgender women’s experiences related to HIV prevention, care and treatment. Abt, in partnership with Atlas Research, designed a mixed-methods study with HIV-positive transgender women, HIV-negative transgender women and healthcare providers in three U.S. cities. This research aims to provide crucial information that will enable future HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts to successfully reach and engage transgender women using culturally competent strategies.
Since 2012, Abt has been conducting HIV/AIDS outcomes studies for HRSA. The goal of these studies is to determine the impact of different health care coverage and clinical care models on health outcomes and identify the factors associated with detectable viral load among Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP). The Abt project team is sampling 100 RWHAP provider sites and conducting health center staff and client interviews, chart abstractions and client focus groups. We’re also administering a web-based survey to approximately 305 sites. Additionally, Ryan White Service Report (RSR) client and program-level data from all clients receiving medical services will be analyzed.
Abt Associates uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people’s lives worldwide. From increasing crop yields and combatting infectious disease, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing—and more—we partner with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges.