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General Electric (GE) Announces New $14.7 million Commitments to Build Healthcare Skills and Capacity in East Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa will need to create an average of 15-20 million new jobs per year over the next three decades to meet the current growth – GE Africa Future of Work White Paper

Today, ahead of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, GE (NYSE: GE) announced a series of new commitments aimed at addressing some of the most critical health challenges in East Africa through a sustained focus on skills development and capacity building. Among the investments, GE announced:

1.The establishment of the GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute in Kenya, GE’s first-ever dedicated healthcare skills advancement center in Africa;

2.A $1.7M GE Foundation grant for Biomedical Equipment Training and Safe Surgery programs in Ethiopia.

As outlined in the GE Africa Future of Work White Paper, launched today, entitled, Building Strong Workforces to Power Africa’s Growth, Sub-Saharan Africa will need to create an average of 15-20 million new jobs per year over the next three decades to meet the current growth, presenting a considerable challenge to the labor market given the low rates of formal employment.(1)

Moreover, the global health sector, especially in developing markets, is facing critical workforce shortages,(2) with Africa ranking the lowest in the availability of health personnel.(3) With 12% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s burden of diseases, Sub-Saharan Africa has only 3% of the world’s health workforce.(4) According to the White Paper, the African urbanization story underscores the need for Governments and their partners to invest aggressively in enhancing skills.(5)

Farid Fezoua, President & CEO of GE Healthcare Africa said,

Investing in the training and education of healthcare professionals to strengthen capability building is one of the greatest enablers for sustainable healthcare development. 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.”

1.GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute, Kenya

Selected in February 2015 as a key technology and solutions partner by the Kenyan Ministry of Health (MoH) as part of its ~USD 420 million healthcare transformation plan, GE is committed to supporting knowledge-sharing and capacity building in Kenya and across East Africa. As a cornerstone of the mega-modernization program, GE will launch the new GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute in Kenya, representing a long-term investment of at least $13 million over the next 10 years.

With specialised GE Healthcare training facilities across the globe, the centre is set to become GE’s first dedicated skills development facility in Africa when inaugurated in Nairobi later in Q4 2015 that will serve Kenya and the wider East Africa.

The GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute will initially offer biomedical and clinical applications training courses and over the longer-term will be expanded to offer leadership, technical and clinical education courses, working with the MoH, private healthcare providers and other educational partners, with the goal to train over 1,000 healthcare professionals over the next 3 years.

In East Africa, where there is a significant shortage of qualified healthcare professionals, the localization of vocational and leadership training courses aims to support the development of a pipeline of future biomedical engineers, radiologists and technicians, helping to reduce the skills gap, improve job prospects and build a solid national healthcare system and private healthcare sector.

The Kenya training center is part of GE Healthcare’s global commitment to invest over $1 billion in the development and delivery of localized offerings for the healthcare sector, including a new class of technology-enabled training solutions by 2020. Moreover, as part of this commitment, GE Healthcare aims to deliver enhanced training for over two million health professionals globally that is expected to help healthcare systems drive better patient outcomes and benefit more than 350 million patients worldwide by 2020.

2. Ethiopia Biomedical Equipment Training (BMET) Center of Excellence

GE Foundation’s first Biomedical Equipment Training (BMET) program in Ethiopia responds to the shortage of skilled healthcare workers and functional medical equipment. The BMET Center of Excellence (COE) builds on the success of prior BMET programming in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Honduras and Cambodia and expands the commitment by creating a COE within a hospital setting to translate learning to actual work processes.

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