The GE Foundation announced today that it has joined forces with the Developing World Healthcare Technology Laboratory at Duke University and Engineering World Health to establish a new BMET training project in Nigeria.

The grant program will address the country’s need for locally qualified medical technicians to repair and service biomedical equipment. According to the foundation, 50% of hospital equipment in Nigeria is currently out of service due to a lack of trained biomedical equipment technicians.

“The shortage of functional medical equipment is a barrier to the efficient delivery of care in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said David Barash, MD, executive director and chief medical officer of the GE Foundation. “This capacity-building program delivers a structured curriculum and develops a pipeline of locally accredited technicians, in line with GE’s overall commitment to drive knowledge transfer, capabilities building, and local job creation.”

The grant program, defined through collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) in Nigeria, will be established at the Federal School of Biomedical Engineering Technology at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and builds on the success of BMET programs already implemented in Rwanda, Ghana, Cambodia and Honduras. The $1.5 million grant will be administered over a 3-year period.

In addition to establishing a BMET school in Nigeria, the grant sponsors aim also to create a center of excellence (COE) in coordination with the Federal School of Biomedical Engineering Technology and LUTH. The COE’s goal will be to serve as a model for other training programs in the region.

The BMET training program features needs-based curricula tailored to each country in partnership with Duke University’s Developing World Technology Lab. In Nigeria, training will be delivered through twelve 4-week modules, delivered over 3 years in classroom, laboratory, field practicum, and exam components. Students will learn about healthcare technology management, computer skills, principles of medical device operation, and professional development.

The BMET Project began in 2009 in Rwanda with 38 technicians graduating in 2012 and another 67 currently enrolled in the program. More projects were subsequently set up in Honduras (2010), Ghana (2012) and Cambodia (2013).