An initiative to improve healthcare delivery in the country through the improvement of the skills of graduates and working professionals in the field of Biomedical Engineering (BME) has been launched in Accra on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.
Dubbed; “Upskilling Biomedical Engineers for Ghana”, the project is supported through the develoPPP funding programme implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The project involves partnering, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the University of Ghana (UG) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to further modernize their biomedical engineering courses.
In that regard, the curricula of both institutions would be reviewed and enhanced to reflect more practical content while lecturers and lab technicians would be trained to apply the practical modules.
The existing laboratories of the two universities will also be upgraded to make them more functional for use as training centres.
Medical service providers, B.Braun, Delft Imaging Ghana and Sysmex Europe and the learning platform, Area Lyceum acting as partners are also joining the efforts to enhance the skills of students and working professionals in the BME field.
The launch brought together biomedical engineering experts, students and faculties from universities offering BME courses, dignitaries from the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), development partners as well as project partners.
Furthermore, under the theme “Collaborations for BME Education, Practice and Regulation in Ghana”, stakeholders deliberated on how to advance the BME discipline in the country to benefit the health sector.
The develoPPP Team Lead, Holger Till, said having worked in the nation’s health sector for decades, it was always very frustrating when the unavailability or defectiveness of medical equipment became an impediment in the delivery of quality healthcare.
He was happy that “the project would help promote more innovative solutions which will enhance the efficiency of the technologies already in use, thereby improving the lives of patients living with various conditions in a variety of ways”.
Dr Till added that the project, which had similarly been implemented in Kenya and Senegal, would work seamlessly because the country already had motivated and well-trained professionals accompanied by strong existing structures.
Research and Development
In a speech read on his behalf, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Hafiz Adam, said the government had planned to build a state-of-the-art research and development centre where BME experts could invent medical devices using local materials.
He said it was part of the ministry’s determination to strengthen the workforce to deliver on its required services as the country positions itself towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC).
“Currently, about 350 Biomedical Engineering Professionals have been employed in the public health sector with varying skill-set to support effective management of medical equipment deployed to support health service delivery,” the speech read by the Head of Biomedical Engineering Unit of the Ministry of Health, Nicholas Adjabu, said.
SDG Goal 3
The Director of Health Administration and Support Services (HASS) at the GHS, Dr Ebo Hammond, said the project was crucial for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, which has to do with healthy lives because they help in the development, design, management, and maintenance of medical equipment, devices, and systems.
He said the practical focus of the project will bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and its application in real-life scenarios and expose them to industry standards.
“As part of upgrading the competence of its biomedical engineers, the GHS provides competency training for its biomedical engineering cadre. We have conducted in-house training for our over 200 biomedical engineers since 2021 in medical oxygen generation systems, biosafety cabinet systems, imaging, laboratory, and solar, among others,” he added.