Since 2007, the Abbott Fund has invested more than $4 million and Abbott has donated products worth more than $1.5 million to support AMPATH (Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare), headquartered in Eldoret, Kenya. The primary focus of our support has been AMPATH’s home-based counseling and testing initiative, designed to offer health care services to people living in even the most remote areas.
Initially focused on HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, AMPATH soon recognized the urgent need for comprehensive responses to chronic health problems in Africa. Today the group uses its learnings in ongoing programs that provide sustainable support for Kenyans with diabetes and other conditions that require ongoing management, care and support.
An example of AMPATH’s many successful projects is the group’s BIGPIC program (Bridging Income Generation with Provision of Incentives for Care), which builds on the strong community spirit of Kenyans. BIGPIC uses a combination of group motivation, education and incentives to encourage diabetes patients to improve not only their own health, but also the health of others.
Participants are divided into groups of 10 neighboring patients. Patients’ blood sugar levels are measured at the start of the program, then at three- and six-month intervals. At the end of that time, AMPATH hosts a celebration with diabetes-friendly foods. At the party, groups that achieve the greatest levels of diabetes control are rewarded with community-appropriate prizes such as farming supplies and supermarket vouchers. To win, groups must work together to lower their blood glucose levels.
In addition to creating programs like BIGPIC, AMPATH has long been a pioneer in using mobile technologies to help identify, treat and monitor patients. The use of simple technology such as GPS systems and cell phones brings health care directly to people’s homes rather than requiring them to go to a hospital or clinic – often a hardship for those without reliable transportation. These simple technologies have also been utilized to provide cell phone based care services for patients with diabetes. This strategy which combines self-monitored blood glucose readings with phone based support has resulted in more than a 30% reduction in the blood sugar (as measured by HbA1c) of enrollees.
Today, AMPATH is improving the health of more than 150,000 patients throughout Kenya with its innovative outreach, testing, treatment and care programs.