The GE Foundation is teaming with Duke University’s Developing World Healthcare Technology Laboratory to develop a Biomedical Equipment Technician Training project in Nigeria. The grant program will address the need for local, qualified technicians to repair and service biomedical equipment.
According to the World Health Organization, 85 percent of hospitals in Africa reported difficulty finding such people. Robert Malkin, head of the program at Duke, told Device Daily Bulletin that 40 percent of medical equipment in Nigeria is idle, not functioning and in need of repair.
The three-year, $1.5 million initiative will create a Federal School of Biomedical Engineering Technology at Lagos University Teaching Hospital. Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health is collaborating on the project.
Once the BMET school is up and running, the next goal is to establish a Center of Excellence to serve as a model for other medical training programs in Africa, the groups said.
"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,” Malkin said.
This will be the groups’ fifth BMET school and its third foray into Africa. Previous schools were established in Rwanda, Honduras, Ghana and Cambodia. The BMET training program is tailored to each country’s individual needs. — Kellen Owings
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