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The GE Foundation Expands ImPACT Africa program to Address Critical Shortage of Health Workers in Kenya, Improve Access to Safe Surgery

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The GE Foundation announced today a new Commitment to Action with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to expand the ImPACT (Improving Perioperative & Anesthetic Care Training) Africa program in Kenya. ImPACT Africa is a sustainable training program that aims to address maternal and infant mortality related to surgical intervention during childbirth through ongoing training of skilled healthcare workers. This Commitment to Action, announced during the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, expands the existing program to train 25 nurse anesthetists and clinical officers, and its services to four additional hospitals.

GE Foundation’s commitment also includes developing a comprehensive perioperative care training Center of Excellence at Kisumu Regional Hospital to address each stage of surgical care and provide ongoing training to obstetric and anesthesia care teams. Additionally, the commitment will expand to include 4 additional hospital sites in Western Kenya. Program commitment over the next three years is $2.6 million for the expansion.

“Improving maternal health is a main focus of Developing Health GloballyTM, and without access to safe anesthesia, maternal and infant mortality cannot be eliminated,” said Deb Elam, President, GE Foundation and Chief Diversity Officer, GE. “This program supports capacity-building for safe surgery and anesthesia through training and educational infrastructure. We hope to see this anesthesia education program spread beyond Kenya to support reduction of maternal mortality globally. We are proud to align the expansion of ImPACT Africa with CGI’s mission of gathering global leaders in philanthropy, business, government and academia to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.”

The program employs a “Train the Trainer” approach by selecting top graduates to become trainers to help achieve far-reaching, scalable impact. Typically, more than 50 percent of the graduating classes are women; hence the program is not only expanding skills training but can lead to long-term economic opportunities for female healthcare workers in Kenya. Training will be at Kenyan Medical Training College-Kisumu (KMTC) and Maseno University.

“Access to safe anesthesia is crucial to lowering maternal mortality rates, yet only 6% of maternal wards in Africa have proper anesthesia skills for Caesarian section or treatment of post-partum hemorrhage,” said Dr. David Barash, Chief Medical Officer & Executive Director, Global Health for the GE Foundation. “The opportunity to reduce the burden of disease, disability and mortality with safe surgery in Kenya and other developing nations is substantial. That is why we joined with our academic, NGO and Ministry partners to develop a scalable and sustainable program that addresses maternal mortality, builds skills for local healthcare workers, and can eventually be managed by local teams in country.”

Only 13 of approximately 120 anesthesiologists in Kenya work in public hospitals, and it is estimated that in rural areas, there is only 1 anesthesiologist for every 13 surgeons.1 A 2012 survey conducted by the Center for Public Health and Development and the Ministry of Health in Kenya found that there were only 12 trained anesthesia providers supporting approximately 36 operating rooms in the region. Addressing the shortage of workers trained in anesthesiology will ultimately drive greater access to additional critical healthcare services, such as surgery and emergency obstetrics, and will lead to lower mortality for mothers and infants.

Through their CGI Commitment to Action, GE Foundation is partnering with the Ministry of Health in Kenya, Assist International, Center for Public Health and Development (CPHD), Kijabe Hospital, and Vanderbilt University to leverage a unique combined in-country footprint to build a sustainable anesthesia program for the Government of Kenya. This program will likely serve as a model for other countries in East Africa and globally.

About Developing Health GloballyTM

Established in 2004, GE’s Developing Health GloballyTM (DHG) aims to improve access to quality healthcare for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations by upgrading equipment and infrastructure, and providing training and support to ensure success and sustainability. GE has invested more than $120 million in more than 250 hospitals and health centers throughout Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, making an impact on clinical practice, patient outcomes and community well-being in 15 countries. In total, the program has reached more than 12 million people globally.

About GE Foundation

The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, is committed to building a world that works better. We empower people by helping them build the skills they need to succeed in a global economy. We equip communities with the technology and capacity to improve access to better health and education. We elevate ideas that are tackling the world’s toughest challenges to advance economic development and improve lives. The GE Foundation is powered by the generosity and talent of our employees, who have a strong commitment to their communities. We are at work making the world work better. Follow the GE Foundation at www.gefoundation.com and on Twitter at @GE_Foundation.

About CGI

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,900 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

1 The World Journal of Surgery.

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