GE Healthcare, an American multinational conglomerate headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and Amref Health Africa, the largest non-governmental organization based in Africa, announced a partnership aimed at strengthening the healthcare systems in Africa.
Initially, Amref Health Africa and GE will work together with Intrahealth and Project HOPE on a new program in Ethiopia, where GE will provide medical equipment at 20 health centers and 4 primary hospitals to widen access to antenatal screenings, essential newborn care and to upskill health workers.
The technology will include portable ultrasound for antenatal screening, baby warmers, anesthesia and resuscitation equipment used during childbirth and phototherapy devices which help mitigate jaundice in babies.
Health workers, such as midwives who operate in remote communities where access to medically trained personnel is often limited or non-existent, will be taught essential skills to perform additional tasks such as antenatal scans, ensuring that critical, potentially life-saving services are available to the most at-risk patients.
The collaboration allows the partners to develop new in-country programs that will combine their respective technical expertise, capacity building know-how and ability to convene large-scale funding into programs.
The new GE program with Amref Health Africa will build on results from a 6-month GE pilot during which 22 NICU nurses and paediatricians were trained on the provision of essential newborn care.
Dr. Githinji Gitahi Group CEO, Amref Health Africa, stated: “Amref Health Africa stands at the forefront of creating stronger community-based health systems that ensure access to quality health services for all. Training health workers on essential skills for mother and child health is a key component of addressing the high rates of maternal, newborn and child mortality that still exists in far too many communities.”
“Strengthening primary care and the broader referral system is an essential building block towards the attainment of universal health coverage in Africa. To that end, Amref Health Africa - as a proven and trusted partner in African healthcare, has been at the forefront of primary care development. Leveraging their unique insights and local know-how is an important step in GE’s plan to contribute meaningfully to the reduction of preventable maternal and child mortality,” said Farid Fezoua, President and CEO, GE Healthcare Africa.
“Our approach combines relevant technologies, skills development and localized service delivery into one scalable deployment model. Early pilots have shown promising results and together with Amref Health Africa and our other implementation partners, we have a dedicated and local team monitoring and evaluating these programs to share learnings across the continent,” he added.
Other GE Healthcare programs are present in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Sierra Leone. With a plan to deliver more than 20 such initiatives with several partners including Amref Health Africa, GE aims to reach 3.5 million expectant women, mothers and new-borns and train over 3,000 primary healthcare workers by 2020.
Amref Health Africa is working with over 100 poor and marginalized rural and urban slum communities as well as district health authorities and Ministries of Health and Education in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.