GE Announces US$14.7 million Commitment to Build Healthcare Skills and Capacity in East Africa

In the wake of American President Barack Obama’s recent visit to East Africa, GE Healthcare has announced its plans to enhance its workforce to meet future industry growth levels

In the wake of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, GE has 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 the establishment of the GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute in Kenya, marking GE’s first-ever dedicated healthcare skills advancement center in Africa; and a $1.7 million GE Foundation grant for biomedical equipment training and safe surgery programmes in Ethiopia.

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

Moreover, the global health sector, especially in developing markets, is facing critical workforce shortages, with Africa ranking the lowest in the availability of health personnel. With 12 percent of the world’s population and a quarter of the world’s burden of diseases, sub-Saharan Africa has only 3 percent of the world’s health workforce. According to the White Paper, the African urbanisation story underscores the need for governments and their partners to invest aggressively in enhancing skills.

Farid Fezoua, President & CEO of GE Healthcare Africa commented on the new commitments: “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 localisation in the design and deployment of tailored education solutions including the establishment of new healthcare training centres, 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 localised education, training and skills development programmes for more healthcare workers across Africa.”