Biomedical engineering courses to be reviewed, made more practical in universities

Biomedical Engineering (BME) courses would be reviewed, modernised, and made more practical for university graduates to improve healthcare delivery in Ghana. In a news brief copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and University of Ghana (UG), are the two schools to initiate the project. It said 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 project, dubbed: ‘Upskilling Biomedical Engineers for Ghana,’ is supported through the develoPPP funding programme implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It said the project involves partnering, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between the two Universities to modernize their biomedical engineering courses. 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 will partner Universities to enhance the skills of students and working professionals in the BME field. However, the statement said stakeholders deliberated on how to advance the BME discipline in the country to benefit the health sector. Dr Holger Till, DeveloPPP Team Lead of the project said, having worked in the nation’s health sector for decades, it was always frustrating when the unavailability or defectiveness of medical equipment became an impediment in the delivery of quality healthcare. He said, ‘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. The statement said, Mr Nicholas Adjabu, Head of Biomedical Engineering Unit of the Ministry of Health who read on behalf of Mr Hafiz Adam, Chief Director of the Ministry of Health 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 sets to support effective management of medical equipment deployed to support health service delivery’. It said Dr Ebo Hammond, Director of Health Administration and Support Services (HASS) at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), 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 would 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 over two hundred biomedical engineers since 2021 in medical oxygen generation systems, biosafety cabinet systems, imaging, laboratory, and solar, among others,’ he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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