U.S Secretary of Commerce commends GE for fostering aiding in the health sector

The U.S Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has commended global infrastructure giants GE for fostering viable partnerships with Government and other private sector players across industries. Penny Pritzker who is leading a trade mission delegation to Nigeria was speaking when she visited the GE Corporate office in Lagos. The Secretary of Commerce particularly commended GE for its range of healthcare products, some of which were tailor-made to suit the specific needs of sub-Saharan Africa. She said the collaborative work of GE in galvanising the Healthcare ecosystem through capacity building and supply of innovative Healthcare products was crucial in addressing primary healthcare needs in Nigeria and beyond.

GE had earlier disclosed its partnership with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to provide a $1.6m grant specifically earmarked for market feasibility studies to develop hospitals in Nigeria. The fund aims at creating bankable business strategies for hospitals across the 6 geo-political zones in the country. Other guests and stakeholders who participated in the Healthcare roundtable at the GE office include the U.S Consul-General Jeffrey Hawkings, US Consul General in Nigeria, Dr Babatunde Sagoe, Chairman of the Lagos state Primary Healthcare Board and Dr Efunbo Dosekun of the Outreach Children’s Hospital, Lagos.

Speaking on the challenges in addressing maternal and infant mortality in the country, Dr Doseku said inadequate capacity amongst care givers and inability of most healthcare centres to leverage on appropriate innovative technology was hampering the attainment of the Millennium Development goals on Infant and maternal health care delivery in the country. Dr Sagoe on his part said in a bid to bring primary healthcare delivery closer to the people, the Lagos state government had set up 7 out of 10 planned maternal child healthcare centres within the General Hospitals across the state.

You would recall that only last week at the World Economic Forum, GE announced a $20m partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to address infant and maternal healthcare issues. Specifically, the Initiative will bring together mobile and alternative powered health technology; task-shifting programs for nurses and midwives through a significant focus on training and education; and consumer education for pregnant mothers to drive the right referrals at the right time to impact Millennium Development Goals 4 (reducing child mortality) and 5 (improving maternal health).

Under the terms of the agreement, each of the respective partners will contribute towards the $20 million program in the first phase for the acquisition of point-of-care equipment to strengthen the effectiveness, impact, efficiency and sustainability of primary care health facilities and services in rural and urban areas. The multilateral agreement provides scope for the addition of third parties in phase two, including donors, NGOs and other experts to ensure long-term sustainability and achievement of critical program objectives.

Also at the WEF, the GE Foundation announced a $1.5 million dollar grant with Duke University World Healthcare Tech Lab and Engineering World Health to support a 3-year Biomedical Equipment Technician training program focused on bio-medical engineering with Lagos University Teaching Hospital and the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health. Aimed at building a sustainable pipeline of qualified medical engineers to help address the persistent need for repairing of medical equipment, the initiative will translate into increased up time for equipment and patients.

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