In many developing markets, there is critical workforce shortages in healthcare facilities leading to high numbers of people succumbing to diseases which could have been treated had they received treatment. Africa ranks the lowest in the availability of health personnel.
In a bid to support the development of sustainable healthcare in Kenya, and the rest of East Africa, the Global technology company, General Electric (GE), has launched a $13-million Healthcare Skills and Training Institute, an education facility for healthcare professionals.
Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, General Electric’s new facility will help in addressing some of the most critical health challenges in East Africa.
“With 12 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s burden of diseases, Sub-Saharan Africa has only 3 percent of the world’s health workforce,” the tech giant indicated last year when they announced the plan to launch the healthcare training institute. They underscored the need for governments and development partners to invest aggressively in enhancing skills.
According to GE, to achieve sustainable healthcare development in the region, more efforts have to be put in the training and education of healthcare professionals to strengthen capability building.
The institute which builds on Kenya’s Ministry of Health’s $420-million health modernization program was inaugurated yesterday (June 15, 2015). The new facility is committed to training over 10,000 healthcare professionals from across Kenya and East Africa by 2020.
GE has specialized Healthcare training facilities across the globe, but the center in Kenya, becomes the first dedicated skills development facility in Africa serving Kenya and the wider East Africa, GE said.
Speaking at the inauguration event, Dr Cleopa Mailu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health said: “Demand for quality healthcare is increasing. The GE Training Centre will play a critical role in supporting the capacity development of biomedical engineers, radiologists and technicians, helping to reduce the skills gap, improve job prospects and build a solid national healthcare system.”
The institute will initially offer clinical applications and technical training courses for healthcare professionals in Kenya and East Africa; over the longer-term, it will be expanded to offer leadership, biomedical and clinical education courses, working with the Ministry of Health, private healthcare providers and other educational partners.
“The new center will not only help to ensure that Kenya’s healthcare workforce receives critical training to optimize the full features and benefits of country’s newest healthcare equipment, in the future,” Farid Fezoua, President, and CEO, GE Healthcare Africa said, “it will [also] support the development of a pipeline of future biomedical engineers, radiologists and technicians. This commitment to healthcare capacity building will help to reduce the country’s skills gap, improve job prospects and build a solid national healthcare system and private healthcare sector.”
GE believes that this is a “major force for change,” aimed at increasing access to localized education, training and skills development programs for more healthcare workers across Africa.
During the event, deepening its local partnerships to support human capital development and capacity building, GE Healthcare also signed three new partnerships for skills building in Kenya and East Africa with the Kenya Medical Training College and global partners IntraHealth and Management Sciences for Health.
Image credit: GE