BrandArena: GE Foundation, Others Establish Biomedical Equipment Training Program In Nigeria

Friday, 9 May 2014

GE Foundation, Others Establish Biomedical Equipment Training Program In Nigeria

The GE Foundation, in collaboration with the Developing World Healthcare Technology Laboratory at Duke University and Engineering World Health, is developing a new Biomedical Equipment Technician Training (BMET) project in Nigeria to address a major need for locally qualified medical technicians to repair and service biomedical equipment.

The grant program, defined through collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) in Nigeria, will be established at the Federal School of Biomedical Engineering Technology at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and builds on the success of BMET programs already implemented in Rwanda, Ghana, Cambodia and Honduras. The $1.5M grant will be administered over a three-year period.

Between 50- 80% of medical equipment is out of service in low-income countries according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Additionally, of hospitals surveyed, 85% in Africa, 77% in Latin America and 60% in Asia report difficulty finding qualified medical technicians to repair and service medical equipment. In Nigeria, 50% of hospital equipment is out of service which puts added strain on local healthcare delivery.

“The shortage of functional medical equipment is a barrier to the efficient delivery of care in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said David M. Barash, M.D., Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of the GE Foundation.

“This capacity building program delivers a structured curriculum and develops a pipeline of locally accredited technicians, in line with GE’s overall commitment to drive knowledge transfer, capabilities building and local job creation. We are pleased to collaborate with the Nigerian Ministry of Health on this scalable program to help address the health challenges in the region and deliver solutions that align with the needs of the country.”

The goal of the three-year grant is to establish a BMET school in Nigeria, while also working to create a Center of Excellence (COE) in coordination with the Federal School of Biomedical Engineering Technology and LUTH. The COE’s goal is to serve as a model for other training programs in the region.

“Across the region, donated and purchased equipment sits idle due to the lack of skilled engineers who can install, maintain or repair it,” said Edward Hutton, Chief Operating Officer at Engineering World Health. “Since we started this training program in 2009, the goal has always been to build a local, sustainable, trained workforce of technicians that can fill these critical gaps in care. We are proud to be continuing our work in Nigeria and with our valued partners.”

The BMET training program is unique to each country served. It features needs-based curricula tailored to each country in partnership with Duke University’s Developing World Technology Lab, headed by Dr. Robert Malkin. In Nigeria, training will be delivered through twelve 4-week modules, delivered over three years in classroom, laboratory, field practicum, and exam components. Students learn about healthcare technology management,  computer skills, principles of medical device operation, and professional development. They are taught a broad base of skills that apply to the maintenance and repair of numerous types of biomedical equipment.

“Our research has shown that the impact of programs that provide the appropriate levels of training and ongoing support can be tremendous,” said Dr. Malkin. “The training we provide through this program ensures that local institutions and providers own the process of training technicians and, as a result, build their community’s confidence in the local health system. In the end, this will help maximize the value of donated equipment in the region and dramatically break down this barrier to the delivery of care.”

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