Philips, AMREF partner to improve healthcare in Africa


Royal Philips and the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), announced on 6 February 2014, that they will work closely together in an innovative shared-value partnership model designed to bring about a structural improvement in the healthcare infrastructure and healthcare provision on the African continent.

This long-term strategic partnership aims to support AMREF in achieving its social goals and will help Philips in its ambition to improve the lives of people in Africa, while at the same time realizing growth across the fast-evolving African healthcare market.

This partnership comes at a time when most countries in Africa continue to contend with existing and emerging healthcare challenges: a high incidence of infant and maternal mortality, from largely preventable causes, a sharp increase in the number of people suffering from non-communicable diseases (cancer, diabetes and heart disease); inadequately equipped medical facilities and inadequately trained clinical staff. For example, a woman in sub-Saharan Africa is a hundred times more likely to die of a preventable complication related to pregnancy or childbirth than a woman in Western countries.

In order to compliment local government efforts in tackling these and other problems, AMREF and Philips will connect their networks and bring to market new education and training programs designed specifically for healthcare professionals in Africa. In close cooperation with local stakeholders, both parties will strive to develop and implement large-scale projects to improve healthcare infrastructure and make healthcare more accessible to the local population.

One of several African organizations with strong educational programs, AMREF has been active in Africa for over 55 years and is deeply rooted in rural areas and hospitals. Philips has been active in Africa for over 100 years and, as a leading company in the field of healthcare innovations, has extensive expertise in healthcare system revitalization projects, medical technology, healthcare services and the training of healthcare professionals.

Dr Teguest Guerma, AMREF’s Director General expressed her delight at this partnership: “This is a very unique partnership. Philips is part of AMREF’s heritage and we are happy to embark on the next step of working together in formulating programmes that will utilise innovation to combat the shortage of health professionals and adopting contemporary solutions that will enable Africans to get proper health services.”

“To provide innovative solutions that can deal with the complexity of healthcare in Africa, Philips is taking a long-term approach aimed at close collaboration with local and international parties that have strong engagement in the issues. By teaming up with AMREF, an internationally respected African healthcare organisation, we are convinced that we can work toward our goals of making a significant contribution to improving healthcare in Africa, expanding our activities for providing clinical and technical training to people, and growing Philips as an organisation on the African continent,” said Roelof Assies, General Manager, Philips East Africa.

Large-scale innovation projects

Many African countries have under-developed infrastructure, roads, telecommunications, electricity and water and it is difficult to find well-trained and motivated personnel who are prepared to work in remote rural areas.

Philips and AMREF will jointly seek ways of developing large-scale innovation projects in order to modernize the infrastructure, improve healthcare, and make it accessible in a region as a whole.

Philips has a long tradition of supporting ministries in large-scale national healthcare modernisation projects. As part of such projects, Philips seeks to promote education and training for healthcare professionals through the provision of e-learning courses in numerous healthcare-related disciplines. The company has also set up partnerships with several universities throughout Africa in order to strengthen students’ clinical and technical knowledge and expertise.

AMREF is also committed to the provision of training through online e-learning. The success of their initiatives is demonstrated by an increase in the number of nurses trained in Kenya from 100 to 7,000 per year, and higher scores by students in exams. AMREF is now providing a wide range of training courses for various professional groups, from members of staff in African ministries to the many volunteers, community health workers, who are deployed across Africa.

The strategic partnership between Philips and AMREF is a significant result of Philips’ Fabric of Africa initiative, a joint campaign for promoting public-private partnerships and improving access to health care throughout the African continent.

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