The GE Foundation has announced a $20 million commitment to help improve healthcare in Africa. A key initiative will be repairing medical equipment in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The funds will support the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, aimed at reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, respectively. The Developing Health Globally program will partner with hospitals and health centers in Africa to lead initiatives focused on biomedical technician training, anesthesia training, safe water solutions, and oxygen delivery.

“Our programs are developed to increase capacity, build skills, and create new jobs,” said David Barash, GE Foundation’s chief medical officer. “With our partners, we are creating scalable solutions that can have lasting impact on the delivery of healthcare in Africa and globally.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 70% of laboratory and medical equipment in Sub-Saharan Africa is partially or completely in disrepair. GE first partnered with Engineering World Health and the Developing World Healthcare Technology Laboratory at Duke University in Rwanda in 2009 to establish local BMET training programs and to restore equipment. Following successful programs in Ghana, Honduras, and Cambodia, the organizations will expand into Nigeria in May.

Additional programs will train nurses in western Kenya in the safe use of anesthesia to lower maternal mortality rates and will establish an oxygen supply system for rural districts of Kenya and Rwanda, helping reduce child mortality. The GE Foundation and its partners are also developing programming to improve girls’ education and professional development. It has also partnered with the African Leadership Academy to identify candidates for its camp and scholars program.

“GE Foundation is honored to participate in the 2014 US-Africa Leaders Summit and discuss innovative ways to increase access to healthcare with leaders from throughout the region,” said Deb Elam, GE Foundation president and GE’s chief diversity officer. “The GE Foundation is committed to building a world that works better, and this commitment, along with that of our volunteer employee networks around the world, demonstrates our support of some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.”

For more information, visit the GE Foundation.