Education

Appropriate investments in healthcare technology in a population allow for the delivery of needed health interventions while improving patient safety. Benefits of health technology include allowing for timely and accurate diagnosis of diseases and health conditions, delivering new treatments that extend and improve quality of life, and creating new business opportunities (1). In the developing world, deployment of medical technology is often challenged by cost, a lack of spare parts and consumables and a lack of qualified technical staff. Also, a lack of appropriate supporting infrastructure is an issue (1).

Currently there is an epidemiological transition taking place where there is a steady rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and injuries in Sub-Saharan Africa (2). This rise is expected to cause huge economic impact to developing countries as working-age adults are most affected. Among the different health interventions recommended to efficiently intervene in NCDs is access to basic diagnostics and medicines (2). Health investments in infrastructure and in human resources for health required in NCD clinical diagnosis, risk prediction, treatment, and patient rehabilitation is an important way to tackle the rising NCDs.

Ensuring the production of qualified technical healthcare technology staff by offering quality education is therefore an important responsibility for any country’s healthcare system. The need is in building the next generation of professionals to effectively work in the entire value-chain of medical equipment/device management. This value-chain involves: technology planning and assessment, budgeting and financing, technology assessment and selection, procurement and logistics, installation and commissioning, training and skill development, operation and safety, maintenance and repair, decommissioning and disposal (3). Also key, is conducting research as well as routine evaluations for safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment. Designing new or improving existing designs of medical devices and equipment is another key aspect of the field as relates to the improvement and sustainability of services (4).

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