Announcing that Royal Philips and AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation) Flying Doctors – the largest health organization in Africa – will be entering into a partnership based on their shared values, the two organizations outlined the aims of the collaboration as being the improvement of the African continent’s health care infrastructure and provision.
Designed to support AMREF in the achievement of their social goals and assisting Philips in its endeavour to improve the lives of the Africa’s people while realising growth in the emerging continent, this strategic long-term partnership is a result of the company’s Fabric of Africa initiative - a joint campaign for promoting public-private partnerships and improving access to health care throughout the continent.
Director-General of Foreign Economic Relations Simon Smits, stated at the signing of the partnership agreement on behalf of Minister Lilianne Ploumen (Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation), that the novel partnership would enable AMREF and Philips to enhance health care in Africa as well as increase trade between the Netherlands and Africa, and cited this as a good example of how foreign aid and trade can create added value together.
Some of the major challenges facing Africa are the significant increase in non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, inadequately trained staff and poorly equipped medical facilities; all contributors to the need for enhanced health care infrastructures. As an example, a woman in sub-Saharan Africa is a hundred times more likely to die of a pregnancy or childbirth related illness than a woman in the Western world.
AMREF and Philips will make maximum use of their individual strengths in order to provide the African governments the support needed in tackling these and other issues, as their partnership combines a wealth of knowledge on local authorities, customs, needs and habits and in the various African countries.
With a collective Africa experience of more than 150 years, the two organisations will combine their networks and cooperate with local stakeholders to develop and implement large-scale projects, create innovative education and training programs specifically devised for Africa’s healthcare professionals, and bring healthcare closer to the local population.
Jacqueline Lampe, CEO of AMREF, explained that the strategic partnership was a model of social enterprise dedicated to aiding the resolve of Africa’s many prevalent healthcare problems by offering medical solutions exclusively created for growth markets like Africa.
Vice-President & General Manager, Philips Healthcare Africa, Peter van de Ven, is convinced that with the support of the Ministry the collaboration will lead to an important contribution towards the improvement of the continent’s healthcare, all the while allowing Philips to grow as an organisation in Africa and continuing its long tradition of supporting ministries in large-scale national healthcare modernization projects.
Seeking to endorse education and training for health care professionals by providing e-learning courses in a variety of healthcare-related areas, the company has also set up partnerships with a number of universities throughout Africa. This commitment is shared by AMREF, who provide a broad number of training courses aimed at a spectrum of professionals, from members of staff in African ministries to the many community health worker volunteers deployed in Africa.
Indications of these initiatives’ success are the rise in the number of trained nurses in Kenya from 100 to 7,000 annually, as well as higher exam scores achieved by medical students.
Public-private partnerships in African communities are a vital component for the implementation of Minister Ploumen’s agenda to achieve results by bringing together research institutions, NGOs, companies, and governments.
12 November 2013