Lagos, Nigeria, 23rd October, 2017: GE (NYSE: GE), the world’s premier Digital Industrial Company has announced the graduation of the last batch of students from the three-year Biomedical Equipment Technician Training (BMET) program which was launched in 2014 from a partnership between the GE Foundation, the Federal Ministry of Health and Engineering World Health.
According to a recent survey by the World Health Organization (WHO), between 50- 80% of medical equipment are out of service in low-income countries. This situation is worse in Africa where the study found that 85% of hospitals on the continent have 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.
To address this, the GE Foundation, in partnership with Developing World Healthcare Technology Laboratory at Duke University and Engineering World Health came up with the Biomedical Equipment Technician Training (BMET) project which has proven successful in countries like Rwanda, Honduras, Ghana and Cambodia, training nearly 200 technicians and establishing nearly 10 Centers of Excellence.
In Nigeria, the $1.5 million BMET training program was delivered through 18, four-week-long modules, over three years via the classroom, laboratory, field practicum, and exam components. During that time, the students learned about healthcare technology management, computer skills, principles of medical device operation, and professional development. The students were also taught a broad range of skills that apply to the maintenance and repair of numerous types of biomedical equipment.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Professor Christopher Bode represented by the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee Prof. Fasanmade commended GE Foundation for its commitment, not only to the upgrade of local skills in Nigeria’s biomedical engineering field, but also to the general improvement of healthcare in the country.
In his remarks, Eyong Ebai, General Manager, GE Healthcare, West and Central Africa expressed delight at GE’s commitment since the launch of the training program to successful completion. He urged the graduating students to go out and apply the invaluable knowledge gained on the program, helping yield better patient outcomes in Nigeria.
He listed some of the achievements recorded since the beginning of the program to include the training of 60 students in three years, the completion and commissioning of the LUTH Biomedical School, the accreditation of the BMET program by the National Board of Technical Education in Nigeria, as well as the announcement by the Health Minister to replicate the initiative across five schools of Biomedical Engineering in Nigeria.
According to Ebai, skills development in the healthcare sector remains a central pillar of GE’s localization strategy in Nigeria. Focusing on education, training and development through partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), GE has trained over 1000+ clinicians on Clinical Leadership, Technical Support and Life Support while increasing clinical capacity for healthcare workers.