Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
As is true of many nations, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Azerbaijan. With 20 percent of its population affected by high blood pressure, a contributing factor of heart disease, Azerbaijan rolled up its sleeves in 2009 to reduce the incidence of hypertension. Today, with the support of Abt Associates, the country is on the road to achieving this goal.
Over the past two years, Abt-implemented strategic interventions, under the USAID-funded Primary Health Care Strengthening (PHCS) project, have produced significant successes. Patient screenings for hypertension have increased in pilot primary care clinics by 23 percent. Physicians’ use of modern diagnostic criteria has jumped by nearly 40 percent. And 22 percent more patients have received treatment in line with contemporary clinical standards.
“We are very pleased with these results and with being able to seamlessly collaborate with Azerbaijan’s Minister of Health and its medical institutions,” said Olga Zues, project director and senior associate at Abt Associates. “Now the Republic has the proper protocols for diagnosing and treating high blood pressure, and these protocols can help lengthen lives and improve life quality for many Azerbaijanis.”
Zues said that after upgrading Azerbaijan’s clinical diagnostic and treatment standards for arterial hypertension to align with evidence-based international protocol, Abt trained more than 300 primary care doctors to use the revised procedures to diagnose and treat patients. The Abt team also created and disseminated patient education materials explaining hypertension, its symptoms, causes and treatment. Finally, Abt helped establish and build the capacity of the District Monitoring Team (DMTs) to monitor implementation of the new clinical standards and new skills of primary care doctors. The DMTs, which are charged by district health authorities to help improve quality of care in pilot primary care facilities, tracked the performance of pilot public health care facilities in five districts on a quarterly basis.
“This project is only one of the many health care reforms we have helped Azerbaijan implement over the past four years,” Zues said. “The work has been challenging and very rewarding.”
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.