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AIHA, GE Foundation Partner on New Biomedical Training Initiative in Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa, March 4, 2016 — The American International Health Alliance (AIHA) AIHA today concluded the first in a series of four in-service biomedical engineering and technician (BMET) trainings planned in Ethiopia through a year-long public-private partnership with GE Foundation and its implementing partners, Assist International and Engineering World Health (EWH).

With support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), activities carried out through this public-private mechanism are designed to complement the work of AIHA’s existing twinning partnership with Jimma Institute of Technology at Jimma University and Addis Ababa Tegbar-Id Polytechnic College. Launched in 2013 with Rice University and Texas Children’s Hospital providing technical assistance, this was the first PEPFAR-funded biomedical engineering partnership in all of Africa. Recently kicking off its second phase, the partnership has expanded to include Addis Ababa Institute of Technology at Addis Ababa University, with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Western Technical College replacing Rice and Texas Children’s Hospital as the resource partners.

Some 29 biomedical engineers and technicians from different hospitals and universities spanning Ethiopia were selected to participate in the BMET training, which was conducted at Tegbar-Id Polytechnic College from January 10 through March 4. Skills-based practical learning sessions were held at nearby clinical sites, including AIHA partner institutions Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital.

Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health and its international partners have committed increasing amounts of resources to expand and improve the quality of healthcare available to the nation’s 93 million people. This includes a strong focus on HIV diagnosis and treatment, which hinges on the availability of working biomedical equipment, such as hematology, CD4, microbiology machines. Current estimates indicate that between 37 and 48 percent of this equipment in Ethiopia is not working at any given time. Additionally, a large proportion of other integral biomedical equipment lies idle in healthcare facilities across the country due to the absence of trained biomedical equipment technicians and engineers.

This new public-private partnership with GE Foundation and our HIV/AIDS Twinning Center partners is providing critical targeted BMET training to help overcome these challenges. It is also creating sustainable institutional and human resource capacity to locally provide ongoing BMET training to meet the needs of the country in the coming years.

The next BMET training session will be conducted April 4 through June 10 at Tegbar-Id.

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