GE Commits $14.7 Million for East African Health Initiatives

General Electric has announced commitments totaling $14.7 million to address critical health challenges in East Africa, with a focus on skills development and organizational capacity building.

The pledge includes $1.7 million over three years from the GE Foundation in support of biomedical equipment training and safe surgery programs in Ethiopia. The grant will establish the Ethiopia Biomedical Equipment Training (BMET) Center of Excellence, an initiative to address the shortage of skilled healthcare workers and functional medical equipment in the country. The initiative, the first of its kind in Ethiopia, builds on the success of GE BMET programs in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Honduras, and Cambodia and will create a center of excellence within a hospital setting that works to translate learning to actual work processes. Participants will benefit from a curriculum of professional management and customer service skills building programs, in-hospital clinical applications, asset management and financial reporting skills, and professional development.

The funds also will be used to establish a program that aims to ensure safe surgery practices in Ethiopia through a new partnership with Lifebox, a nongovernmental organization focused on implementation of the WHO Safe Surgical Checklist. The program will work to standardize safe surgery practices in the country by increasing access to and the quality of surgery, reducing surgical complications, and preventing patient deaths.

General Electric itself has committed at least $13 million over ten years to establish the GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, the company's first dedicated healthcare skills advancement center in Africa. Initially, the institute will offer biomedical and clinical applications training courses, which the company, working with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, private healthcare providers, and other educational partners, plans to expand to include leadership, technical, and clinical education courses to meet its goal of training more than a thousand healthcare professionals over three years.

"Investing in the training and education of healthcare professionals to strengthen capability building is one of the greatest enablers for sustainable healthcare development," said GE Healthcare Africa president and CEO Farid Fezoua. "GE Healthcare's education strategy integrates technology and localization in the design and deployment of tailored education solutions including the establishment of new healthcare training centers, locally configured curricula, and a range of education partnerships with leading regional academic institutions and global partners. As a major force for change, we aim to increase access to localized education, training, and skills development programs for more healthcare workers across Africa."