Washington, DC, November 17, 2015 — AIHA this week highlighted its successful contributions to a comprehensive Health Sector Technology Transfer and Institutional Reform Project during a high-level two-day conference in Astana. Implemented by the Kazakh Ministry of Health and Social Development and funded by a World Bank loan totaling more than $270 million, the project was designed to build long-term institutional capacity at the Ministry and other health institutions in support of the Government of Kazakhstan’s health sector priorities.

AIHA’s role in this project focused largely on healthcare quality improvement, particularly preparing the Scientific and Production Center of Transfusiology (SPCT) Proficiency Testing Department and National Transfusion Center for international accreditation in accordance with ISO-17043. AIHA also trained 121 Kazakh physicians and nurses through professional exchanges in the United States and Spain and developed a computer system for data analyses to be used by partners at the Proficiency Testing Department.

“Safe, high-quality blood services are a critical component of the healthcare system and also contributes to our national security,” said Dr. Bolat Takizhanov, former Vice Minister of Health and National Project Coordinator for the World Bank loan. “It took us a while to identify the right partner for this important component of the project, but we selected AIHA because of the organization’s strong track record of implementing successful health systems strengthening projects in Kazakhstan since the early 1990s,” he continued, noting, “We are very pleased that AIHA was able to rapidly mobilize the necessary technical support to prepare the SPCT for international accreditation, as well as organize targeted trainings at top international blood centers for 121 of our specialists in just over a year’s time.”

AIHA Program Director Dr. Inna Jurkevich presented at the Astana conference, showcasing key outcomes and underscoring that the high level of professionalism and dedication exhibited by the Kazakh partners was crucial to the project’s success. “The Kazakh team members were attentive, intelligent, and very receptive to what our technical experts shared. This is evidenced by the remarkable progress that they made over the past year. They worked very hard and AIHA is proud to have contributed to their success.”

In addition to this Ministry of Health-World Bank project, AIHA is also the recipient of a five-year grant under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to provide technical assistance in the strengthening of blood services in Central Asia, Ukraine, and Cambodia. The grant is administered through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provides technical guidance and actively supports project implementation. Under its aegis, AIHA worked with National Blood Service of Kazakhstan to support infrastructure development, conducting an assessment on the computer information management system at SPCT in Astana and the Republican Blood Center in Almaty, providing technical assistance on the development of user requirement specifications for SPCT; and supporting the development of a course on clinical indications for use of blood in collaboration with local partners.

AIHA has a long history of implementing successful capacity building programs in Kazakhstan, including managing four healthcare twinning partnerships; a community-oriented primary healthcare replication project to scale up needs-driven medical and social support services, in particular for vulnerable or high-risk populations; a PMTCT project to address the growing concern of the increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS in Central Asia; a regional medical education project that focused on curriculum and faculty development as a way to increase local capacity to produce well-qualified graduates capable of meeting the healthcare needs of their populations; and a regional nursing education program to update undergraduate and graduate-level nursing curricula, enhance the leadership skills of nurses, and bolster the capacity of faculty and clinical trainers — all of which were implemented with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) between 1993 and 2006.

AIHA is a nonprofit organization working to advance global health by helping countries with limited resources build sustainable institutional and human resource capacity. Through twinning partnerships and other initiatives, AIHA provides technical assistance using the knowledge and skills of experienced health and allied professionals to strengthen overburdened health systems.

Since its founding in 1992, AIHA has established and managed more than 170 twinning partnerships and initiatives in 30 countries spanning the globe. Through these projects, some 150 US hospitals or health systems and more than 55 schools of the health professions have played a critical role in international health systems strengthening and citizen diplomacy efforts, effectively leveraging overall donor funding with a near 1:1 match of in-kind contributions of professional time, equipment, and other resources.

AIHA operates under various cooperative agreements and grants from US and international donor agencies, including PEPFAR; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); CDC; USAID; and the World Bank.