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The Access Project (now Health Builders)

The Access Project (Access) was a joint effort of the Glaser Progress Foundation and Columbia University's Earth Institute. Founded in 2002 by Rob Glaser and economist Jeffrey Sachs, Access aimed to strengthen health systems for countries in Africa and the Caribbean by offering hands-on strategic planning and support to obtain and effectively deploy resources from the newly formed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).

Recognizing that it couldn't move the meter by giving directly to the Global Fund, Access decided on a two-pronged strategy to help support the Fund's continued success. In its first phase from 2002-2003, Access helped ten countries (Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Malawi, South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Senegal and Haiti) prepare grant applications to the Global Fund. Access provided on-site assistance on proposal preparation and follow-up with Global Fund portfolio managers; helped on structuring the Community Coordinating Mechanism; and capacity-building within the recipient country and government departments. Glaser Progress Foundation's initial investment of $650,000 during this phase resulted in at least 21 successful proposals to the Global Fund receiving $1.4 billion in lifetime funding.

In phase two from 2003-2013, Access focused on helping the Global Fund create an undeniable success story in Rwanda. In 2006 when the Rwandan government decentralized, the Ministry of Health asked Access to provide management technical assistance to health centers at the local level. Access worked in the Rwandan Ministry of Health office to implement the national decentralization strategy; helped design the TRACnet phone and web-based ART surveillance program; helped establish over 200 Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centers nationwide; substantially increased HIV tests performed, ART initiated, diagnosis of malaria, distribution of bed nets, success rate of TB treatment; health center deliveries, and persons enrolled in the national health insurance plan; trained hundreds of health care workers in one-on-one sessions, workshops and retreats; developed the Access Management Evaluation Tool to track health center progress; partnered with corporations, universities and the Global Fund on special projects; served as a gateway and gatekeeper for the distribution of millions of dollars of health care equipment; attracted volunteers from NGOs, academia and industry; and raised nearly $12 million from a variety of outside funding sources. During this phase, Access delivered on-the-ground technical assistance across six districts in more than 80 health centers and seven district hospitals serving 2 million people.

Glaser Progress Foundation awarded Access more than $10 million in grants over the life of the project. In 2014 Access became part of Rwanda Works, which is now Health Builders.

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