African Health Initiative




The African Health Initiative (AHI) seeks to catalyze significant advances in strengthening health systems by supporting partnerships that will design, implement and evaluate large-scale models of care that link implementation research and workforce training directly to the delivery of integrated primary healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa.


About the African Health Initiative

As DDCF approached its 10th anniversary, the foundation's board challenged the staff to identify a compelling and urgent need that fit the mandate of Doris Duke’s will, and for which a well-timed and large infusion of the foundation’s resources (above and beyond its normal grant-making activities) had the potential to make a significant positive impact on society. Seeing the board’s challenge as an opportunity to build upon and expand beyond the foundation’s previous support for AIDS research in Africa, the Medical Research Program sought to identify opportunities for DDCF to help address health disparities in Africa more broadly.

Extensive research and interviews with dozens of experts revealed that despite the recent growth of health investments in Africa, efforts to improve access to essential medical care remain seriously hindered by fragile health systems, health worker shortages and a lack of focus on integrated care. In response to these challenges, DDCF launched the multi-million dollar African Health Initiative in the fall of 2007.

In 2009, four grants ranging from $8 million to $15 million each to support five Population Health Implementation & Training (PHIT) partnerships working in Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. All PHIT projects, which were funded over five to seven years, remain in progress. The African Health Initiative does not accept unsolicited requests for funding.

Below is a video, courtesy of the World Bank, which illustrates the impetus of the African Health Initiative's work to strengthen health systems:



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The 3rd Global Symposium on Health Systems Research was held on September 29-October 3 in Cape Town, South Africa. A summary of the key themes and outcomes from the meeting are available here.

A comment in the Lancet advocating for donor support of the NGO Code of Conduct.

The Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) released new guidance for fair research contracting

The Insitute of Medicine (IOM) has released the report, "Evaluation Design for Complex Global Initiatives," which summarizes the January workshop. 


Ghana PHIT Partnership

Mozambique PHIT Partnership

Rwanda PHIT Partnership

Tanzania PHIT Partnership

Zambia PHIT Partnership


PHIT Data Collaborative Concept Paper (447 KB PDF)

PHIT Data Collaborative Principles, Policies and Procedures (189 KB PDF)


"The African Health Initiative Presents Its Baseline Data" Lola Adedokun, M.P.H., Director for the African Health Initiative and Program Director for the Child Well-being Program

"The African Health Initiative on Understanding Implementation" Mary Travis Bassett, M.D., M.P.H., Former Program Director of the African Health Initiative

"Early Lessons from the African Health Initiative" Mary Travis Bassett, M.D., M.P.H., Former Program Director of the African Health Initiative