- Philips a strategic partner in modernizing the healthcare infrastructure across Tanzania
- Philips demonstrates on-going commitment to manpower development through continuous training and technology upgrades
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) today initiated a healthcare roundtable discussion with key stakeholders from the healthcare sector and government in Dar es Salaam, as part of Philips’ Cairo to Cape Town Tour, in which, from May 12 to July 20, 2010 Philips travels across Africa to raise awareness for the opportunities that new solar powered lighting and best-in-class healthcare solutions can provide in order to improve the quality of healthcare in Africa.
At the roundtable, Philips presented best practices from a seven year program in Tanzania that provided rigorous infrastructural development for 98 hospitals across the country. The program, part of the Dutch government’s ORET international development initiative, has significantly improved access to high-quality diagnostic services for people throughout Tanzania. Discussions at the round table focused on the most urgent future needs of Tanzanian healthcare providers and offered support in defining and executing best-in-class solutions.
Philips - a strategic partner in modernizing the healthcare infrastructure across Tanzania
In 1999, the government of Tanzania partnered with Philips Healthcare in rehabilitating the diagnostic services and operating theaters of district and regional hospitals throughout the country. Since then, Philips has been collaborating with the Tanzanian government and local healthcare workforces for ongoing upgrades of hospital infrastructure and continuous training and education of healthcare workers.
“The project has had a tangible and valuable impact on the quality and availability of healthcare in Tanzania. Philips has proved to be a valuable partner to the Ministry of Health as they understand that it is not enough to simply supply and install equipment. Together they have built on existing infrastructure and trained the local people to make the project sustainable. The Dutch Government support has resulted in bringing quality healthcare closer to all Tanzanians and Philips has ensured that health services are available and accessible in both urban and rural areas. This has been a very successful partnership” says Steef van den Berg, First Secretary and Head of the Economy and Trade Department, Royal Netherlands Embassy, Tanzania.
The project, which was part of the ORET initiative funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Tanzania, rehabilitated 98 hospitals with diagnostic equipment that included X-ray, ultrasound scanners and dental, laboratory and surgical equipment. Buildings were rehabilitated and water treatment units and power generators were installed. The project included comprehensive project management and training for hospital staff and service engineers. A recent survey showed that more than 95% of the items are operational, compared to an average of 50% for many of the other Sub Sahara countries.
“Philips is working closely with partners in Tanzania to provide much more than just technology solutions – we seek to lay the foundations of an improved system of health care,” said JJ van Dongen, Senior Director and General Manager, Philips Healthcare – Africa & Country Manager – Philips South Africa. “Delivering and maintaining medical technology in 98 district and regional hospitals across Tanzania is and remains a managerial and logistical challenge. It is a complex process that involves long-term commitment and investments, along with new ways of measuring success”.
“There are many challenges including limited infrastructure (roads, telecom, electricity and water) and it is difficult to find adequately trained and motivated people to work in rural areas. Making a difference in this environment requires tailor-made solutions, a different approach to marketing and distribution, and appropriate education for end-users” added Mr JJ van Dongen.
Building manpower capacity
Continuous training and education of healthcare workers is another important focus area for Philips. Technology has little value without sufficiently skilled staff to operate and maintain it. Ten years back, rural hospitals in Tanzania had great difficulty in attracting motivated people. Philips has recognized that human resource development was considered the most critical issue for continued sustainability of healthcare projects. The Government of Tanzania has invested considerably in the training needs of the local clinical staff, including radiologists and service engineers. In addition, Philips facilitated the training and continues to service and maintain the installed equipment. This has helped to attract and retain medical staff in rural areas.
Philips also continues to work with hospitals in technology upgrade programmes. The latest Philips Healthcare technologies have also been introduced in Tanzania including: the Philips Brilliance 64 slice CT scanner and Philips’ Achieva 1.5T MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): the first MRI scanner in the industry to offer SmartExam – automation for consistent scan quality. This is a unique tool that enables users to standardize the MRI exam process, from planning to reviewing. The Philips Achieva 1.5T MRI is advanced technology that is designed around the clinician and comes with an exam card that allows the user to take part in the Philips NetForum online community, to share clinical experiences, optimize results, and learn from peers around the globe.
As a leading company in health and well-being, Philips aims to continue its drive to further improve the quality of healthcare in Tanzania and other African countries through meaningful solutions, innovations and partnerships. The Philips-ORET collaboration in Tanzania seeks to promote economic growth and enhance sustainable development.