A second batch of Biomedical Engineers recently graduated from the Biomedical Training Centre of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
The Biomedical training centre was refurbished and equipped by GE Foundation to train and build a sustainable pipeline of qualified medical engineers for the healthcare system in Nigeria. GE Foundation’s involvement is in fulfilment of a commitment made by GE to work with other stakeholders towards developing a new Biomedical Equipment Training project in Nigeria to address the need for locally qualified medical technicians to repair and service biomedical equipment.
The project builds on successes from BMET projects in Rwanda, Honduras, Ghana and Cambodia, with the Foundation partners, Engineering World Health, Inc. Statistics from the World Health Organization show that between 50 per cent to 80 per cent of medical equipment are out of service in low-income countries after just two years of usage.
In Nigeria, 50 per cent of hospital equipment are out of service and this puts added strain on healthcare delivery. In a message at the graduation ceremony conducted at the LUTH Biomed centre, the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Prof. Christopher Bode, congratulated the graduates for staying the course.
Bode noted that the centre is one of the best equipped in the whole of West Africa and saluted Prof. Carmen Walker for her hard work over the years.
He reconfirmed the management of LUTH’s commitment to continue to support initiatives that build the capacity of health personnel in the country. In Nigeria, the BMET training programme is delivered through 18, four-week-long modules, delivered over three years via the classroom, laboratory, field practicum and exam components.
Students learn about healthcare technology management, computer skills, principles of medical device operation and professional development.
The students are taught a broad range of skills that apply to the maintenance and repair of numerous types of biomedical equipment. Walker, the Programme Director for the BMET programme, expressed excitement at the successful graduation of the second set of trainees.
She emphasised that “biomedical engineering is more than just maintaining equipment and it can make a difference in the life of a patient”. Eyong Ebai, the General Manager, GE Healthcare, West and Central Africa, represented by Lilian Okoye, Education Leader for GE West & Central Africa, expressed pleasure at the success of GE’s collaboration with the Nigerian government to build capacity in the health sector.
Ebai advised the graduates to use the knowledge acquired to continue saving lives and contributing to the success of the BMET programme, which has the ultimate objective of making LUTH a centre of excellence in Biomedical Engineering. The BMET Project was first launched in 2009 in Rwanda.
Since then, projects were set up in Honduras (2010), Ghana (2012) and Cambodia (2013), training nearly 200 technicians and establishing nearly 10 Centres of Excellence. Building competencies in the healthcare sector is a central pillar of GE’s localization strategy in Nigeria.
Focusing on education, training and development and through partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, GE has trained over 1,000 clinicians on Clinical Leadership, Technical Support and Life Support, while increasing clinical capacity for healthcare workers.