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When was the Access Project started and why?
The Access Project was established by Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the Glaser Progress Foundation in 2002. The goal of these organizations was to provide assistance to governments in Africa and the Caribbean seeking to attract and effectively deploy resources from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Since its inception, the Access Project has worked to strengthen management systems at all levels of the Rwandan health sector.
Where does the Access Project work?
The Access Project is currently operating in 79 health centers in six districts in Rwanda: Musanze, Nyabihu, Gakenke, Rwamagana, Ngoma and Bugesera. The Access Project also provides technical assistance in Ethiopia, to the Global Fund unit of the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO).
What activities does the Access Project conduct?
The Access team, composed of technical specialists and District Health Advisors, uses a specially designed assessment tool to determine baseline performance scores and ongoing guidance to health centers on improving systems in eight management domains: human resources, infrastructure, financial management, mutuelle (Rwanda’s community health insurance program), pharmacy, data management, planning and coordination, and information technology. The Access Project also has a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Control Program which targets five NTDs: Soil-transmitted helminthiasis, Schistosomiasis, Trachoma, Lymphatic filariasis and Onchocerciasis.
Who does the Access Project work with?
The Access Project works with the Rwanda Ministry of Health, NGOs, private foundations, universities, official government aid agencies, corporations, small businesses, community health workers, health center staff and community leaders. The Access Project’s partners provide technical assistance, operational and programmatic cooperation, financial support, personnel and other in-kind support.
How is the Access Project funded?
The Access Project receives funding from various international organizations including: Glaser Progress Foundation, MAC AIDS Fund, the Schmidt Family Foundation, and the MAIA Foundation.
What is the Access Project’s Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Control Program?
In 2007, the Access Project partnered with the MOH to spearhead the most extensive mapping of NTDs ever undertaken in Rwanda. The mapping exercise guided the development of new interventions, including twice-yearly mass drug administration (MDA) campaigns for millions of Rwandan children and a number of preventative educational activities.
How is the NTD Control Program funded?
The NTD Control Program is funded by Legatum through Geneva Global and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, which is a secretariat of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases. The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) provides a technical support.
What are NTDs?
NTDs are a group of preventable and treatable infections including soil transmitted helminth infections (intestinal worms), schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), lymphatic filariasis and trachoma, which can cause chronic illness, malnutrition, disfigurement, and other long-term consequences. These disfiguring and life-threatening parasitic and bacterial infections afflict at least three million people in Rwanda.
In which districts are NTDs endemic in Rwanda?
Soil-transmitted helminth infections (STHs), more commonly known as intestinal worms, are a major public health problem throughout the country, with a prevalence of 66% among school aged children. Rates are highest in the Northern and Western Provinces, and prevalence surpasses 70% in 15 of Rwanda’s 30 districts. Schistosomiasis (also known as snail fever or bilharzia) affects 3% of Rwandan schoolchildren overall, but has been found to affect up to 70% of schoolchildren in areas near lakes or swamps. Prevalence rates are highest around Lakes Ruhondo, Muhazi, Burera, Kivu and Rweru. Trachoma is not a public health problem throughout Rwanda. However, trachoma prevalence is approximately 1% overall among children aged 1 to 9 years in Gatsibo and Nyaruguru districts, and is as high as 13% in five villages.
How can NTDs be prevented?
NTDs thrive under conditions of poverty – environments with poor sanitation, dirty water, substandard housing, and lack of access to health services. In most instances, NTD infection can be avoided by simple acts such as avoiding bathing in stagnant bodies of water, boiling and treating water before consuming it, maintaining clean latrines and washing ones hands frequently, particularly after using the restroom and before cooking or eating a meal.
What is the Pfizer Global Health Fellows Program and how is it working with the Access Project?
Through the Global Health Fellows (GHF) program, Pfizer loans its most valuable asset, its people, to non-profit organizations in the developing world to help address systemic health care challenges. The goal of the program is to help strengthen the ability of health care providers in developing countries to care for their patients. Each year, Pfizer deploys up to 50 talented colleagues to work on high-impact, capacity building projects. The focus is on sustainability, so Fellows are selected in part for their strengths in teaching and training and their willingness to see their work carried on by local teams. To date, the Fellows have been a diverse and exceptionally committed group of individuals: 232 scientists, clinical researchers, financial and data analysts, nurses, doctors, and HR managers from 25 Pfizer country offices worldwide who have served in 31 developing countries. The Access Project has received nine fellows since 2006.
What is the Peace Corps and how is it working with the Access Project?
Peace Corps is a United States government agency that promotes peace around the world by providing opportunities for Americans to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. The Access Project has received 11 Health and Community Development Volunteers since the first group arrived in January 2009. Peace Corps Volunteers work closely with district health advisors to implement health systems strengthening and other health related projects.
How can I help the Access Project accomplish its goals?
For more information on the Access Project and its activities, please e-mail: . To donate to the Access Project, please visit: