Doing work that matters. It's what we're known for.

Health

Abt Associates helps to achieve more effective and equitable health systems, higher quality health care and better health and well-being for people across Asia Pacific.

Since 1999, we have worked with governments, health organisations and the private sector to design and implement health programs and provide strategy, policy advice, technical assistance and research and evaluation that strengthens health governance and makes a lasting difference by building capacity for the future.

From reducing Tuberculosis and delivering HIV/AIDS services on the ground in Papua New Guinea to supporting Fiji’s national health sector or researching Public Health Law in the Pacific, our success in international health is based on our ability to bring our world-class capability to deliver evidence based solutions tailored to the social, cultural and economic context of each country.

Related Programs

Global: Specialist Health Service
Australia: Australian Nurse Family Partnership Support Service
Papua New Guinea: Health & HIV Implementation Service Provider
Papua New Guinea: Health & Education Procurement Facility
Fiji: Fiji Health Sector Support Program
Papua New Guinea: North Fly Health Services Development Program
Papua New Guinea: CMCA Middle South Fly Health Program

Areas of Expertise

Strengthening health systems is increasingly critical to improving health outcomes. A recent statement from WHO recognised, “the world has never possessed such a sophisticated arsenal of interventions and technologies for curing disease and prolonging life. Yet the gaps in health outcomes continue to widen.” The greatest challenges in international health lie not in the identification of efficacious interventions, but rather in their effective implementation and scale-up. This demands novel approaches to health system strengthening which deal with the complexity and variation within health systems.

Health systems across the Asia-Pacific region are diverse and their technical demands vary. Rapid economic and social change is presenting challenges for the health systems of many Asian countries, including issues of quality and equitable access to services. It has also fostered innovation, which needs to be matched by investments in rigorous evaluation and research. In the Pacific, health systems are often weak, due to insufficient numbers of trained health workers, inadequate financing and planning for the health sector, unreliability in the procurement, supply and distribution of essential drugs – and very challenging operating contexts.

We offer world leading expertise in all aspects of health systems strengthening, including: health financing, health information systems and technologies, human resources for health, and governance and health policy. We have implemented bilateral projects focused on strengthening health systems across the Asia-Pacific Region for government as well as private sector clients, with particular expertise in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Pacific.

Abt Associates works within the philosophy of PHC and acknowledges the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) revitalisation of comprehensive PHC. The Abt Associates approach is underpinned by our philosophical commitment to comprehensive primary health care in the delivery of health services.

We believe we are obligated to our communities and to our funders to provide a range of services which are promotive, preventive, curative, supportive and rehabilitative. We understand that in order to have the desired impact we must take account of the life stage of individuals and recognise the role that social determinants have on health. We accept that life does not deal everyone an equal hand and thus issues of social justice, equity and equality require strong positive influences. Abt Associates stands up to be counted as a key influencer in the health sector globally and in Australia. We aim, in all our planning and delivery to ensure that we do our work through a lens of capacity development and empowerment, delivering better health outcomes to urban, rural and remote communities and individuals.

Our approach builds on

A well-established, strong reputation for expertise in primary health care and active participation in ongoing system reform, with a strong focus on cross-cutting issues including gender, poverty, disability equity and social justice.

Reducing fragmentation of services and strengthening primary health care by facilitating inter-sectorial collaboration, coordination of public/private initiatives and the commissioning of services to improve efficiencies and provide value-for-money are key Abt Associates objectives.

Our approach ensures that we will

Continue to build on our collaborative strengths, maintain a person-centred focus, a clear purpose and consistent outcomes, remaining flexible to meet the changing needs of the community across the larger geographical area and instill cultural appropriateness in all undertakings.

Respect the local knowledge of the regions and build strong foundations of partnership, enabling meaningful programs to be developed and delivered at the local and national level, facilitating the reform of the primary health care system. Maintain good governance, supported by well-developed financial, quality, risk and human resource management systems. Finally, address the focus areas of access and equity, gender related issues, poverty and disability across all planning.

For more than fifteen years, Abt Associates has provided clinical management services in various jurisdictions, including remote and challenging environments in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. We have worked in more than 40 countries and presently have a growing network of over 500 senior health experts in health systems strengthening, clinical service delivery, health service planning and health financial management in Australia alone.

Abt Associates Australian health clients have included: the Aboriginal Medical Services (including Central Australian Aboriginal Congress), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Department of Health, The Menzies School of Health Research, The Northern Territory Government, Queensland Health, VicHealth Services and Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services.

Our overseas clients include Harmony Gold Mining Limited, Lihir Sustainable Development Plan, Ok Tedi Mining Limited, Porgera Joint Venture, the World Bank and the World Health Organisation.

Workforce development requires a broad, comprehensive and multifaceted systems approach. It covers a wide range of key activities, strategies and policies impacting on individuals and teams and the organisational and contextual environment in which people work and learn.

The Australian Workforce and productivity commission state that “The world of work is changing, driven by technology, globalisation, the expanding knowledge economy, and the opportunities and challenges of globalisation”. Abt Associates have developed a credible niche in supporting workforce development in this contemporary context, both in its international development programs and its Australian programs.

Abt Associates recognises the intersection of workforce development and capacity building is key to long term sustainability of invested actions and we can claim a strong track record of success in developing and implementing effective, evidenced based training and education programs in our international development and Australian programs.

Our approaches include:

  • Utilising adult learning principles,
  • ensuring training and education is competency and evidence based,
  • recognition of prior learning,
  • supporting local training delivery, skill audits and competency evaluation,
  • ongoing, professional development for local staff,
  • up-skilling local training and education staff,
  • providing teaching curriculum, resources and assessment materials,
  • ongoing review and update of curriculum and resources to meet current industry, requirements and client needs,
  • providing specialist staff to deliver course components; and
  • providing additional support and advice as required.

Abt Associaes have qualified, skilled and experienced trainers and educators who have worked in diverse environments, acknowledging local influences on education and training standards and opportunity for access in resource-poor countries impacts on capacity development.

Abt Associates have provided trainers and educators for many of our development programs including in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Indonesia and Australia. They have covered areas such as professional development training in the tertiary education and health sector, curriculum design and development for both experienced and beginning practitioners in the health sector, strategic educational planning and institutional strengthening of education facilities.

Ensuring that the potential health impacts of a major project are identified early and that systems are put in place to manage and mitigate the impacts on the surrounding communities is vital for the developer, the community, and the Government. Our tailored HIAs assist developers and implementers of major projects and programs to:

  • Develop an accurate understanding of the health status of the potentially impacted populations in the project area
  • Identify key health risks associated with the project
  • Develop and prioritise effective mitigation, and monitoring strategies
  • Comply with corporate policies, legislative requirements and international standards

Abt Associates works to International best practice guidelines on HIAs, established by WHO, the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Depending on client requirements, our tailored HIAs can vary from desk-based rapid HIAs (weeks) to comprehensive field-based HIAs (months). Our HIA design always ensures close alignment with broader project impact assessments, schedules, and stakeholder consultation plans. Participatory stakeholder consultation and partnerships, and context-appropriate solutions are signatures of all of Abt Associates work.

Abt Associates is committed to combatting the spread of HIV and improving the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS across the Asia-Pacific. We offer extensive experience in supporting HIV and AIDS programs across the region and have an unparalleled understanding of the social and cultural contexts that these programs are implemented. Within Papua New Guinea, Abt Associates has implemented programs with a combined value of over AUD $450 million over the past fifteen years that have had significant components dedicated to HIV reduction.

Abt Associates contribution to preventing the spread of HIV throughout the Asia-Pacific region centres upon four key approaches. At a strategic level, Abt contributes to planning and coordination by working with health ministries, provincial authorities and civil society organisations to develop and coordinate overarching strategies to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as facilitate linkages between stakeholder to coordinate the implementation of these overarching strategies. Abt Associates also works to promote information and advocacy by designing and distributing health literature as well as hosting discussions/meetings/forums to promote information sharing. Depending on the specific programs we are implementing, Abt Associates is also involved in specific initiatives including the distribution of health promotion materials and condoms, supervising the development of HIV clinics and promoting the safe and correct use of intravenous needle usage. Finally, Abt Associates is experienced in grants management and works with partner organisations to increase their capacity to design and deliver HIV/AIDS related programs.

Between 2000 and 2012, global malaria mortality declined by 45 percent. These improvements have occurred because of a massive scale-up of interventions to prevent, diagnose and effectively treat malaria. Despite these gains, every year, over half the world's population is at risk from contracting Malaria. An estimated 637,000 people died from malaria in 2012, with children comprising the majority of these deaths. Without sustained political will and continued investment, the progress of the last decade could be reversed.

Abt JAssociates works globally to introduce and sustain high-impact interventions to combat the spread of malaria. Our technical assistance helps governments, ministries of health, the private sector and other partners to implement multi-faceted interventions, make informed policy choices, and access additional resources to fights malaria.

Tuberculosis is the second most deadly infectious agent worldwide, sitting only behind HIV/AIDS. While the TB death rate has dropped 45% from 1990 to 2012, 1.3 million people continue to die from TB each year. Developing effective responses to TB is made more challenging by the emergence of multiple drug-resistant strains has made TB more complex and expensive to treat and cure. Given that TB is a preventable and curable disease and that 95% of all TB-related deaths occur in developing countries, it is clear that the world's poor bear the greatest burden of effects of TB.

Abt Associates has teamed with an array of public, private and multilateral partners over the last fifteen years to combat the spread of TB across the Asia-Pacific region.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), or chronic diseases, have become the leading causes of global mortality. NCDs account for 60 percent of deaths worldwide and are projected to contribute to 80 percent of all deaths in low and middle-income countries by 2030. In addition to their direct impact on health, NCDs - which include cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease - pose a substantial economic burden on individuals, communities, and countries due to the health care costs and income and productivity losses caused by these chronic diseases.

Abt Associates works with clients and program partners to develop and implement innovative solutions to prevent and control NCDs throughout the Asia-Pacific region. We strengthen the capacity of countries to respond to the growing burden of NCDs by equipping health workers with the knowledge and skills to provide NCD services, supporting the development of policies that facilitate comprehensive and chronic care, enabling managers to monitor the quality of care, analysing the costs of health services, and empowering individuals to prevent and manage chronic illnesses. We collaborate with local stakeholders at all levels of the health system but focus particularly on the primary health care and community levels, where NCDs can often be detected early, managed cost-effectively, or prevented altogether.