General Electric (GE) and the Kenya Cardiac Society (KCS) have entered into a two-year collaboration to offer echocardiography training to physicians and technicians in public and private hospitals in the country. The training will enable the physicians and technicians to offer primary baseline assessment for patients with identified cardiac illnesses in a better way.
The training, which will be held in six-month cohorts, will enrich participants with technical skills on cardiac imaging with focus to anatomy, physiology and hemodynamics as well as sonographic measurement and probe manipulation skills. It will include several practical sessions led by professional sonographers and physician cardiologists. Currently, Kenya has approximately 60 cardiac specialists. The course will see 40 personnel trained over the two-year duration of the partnership.
Speaking at the event to announce the collaboration with the Kenya Cardiac Society, Andrew Waititu, CEO, GE Healthcare East Africa said : “The challenge in the efficient delivery of good-quality cardiac care is the absence of skilled and well-trained healthcare professionals . Our collaboration with the Kenya Cardiac Society to provide echocardiography training is a key step in improving access to quality healthcare across the country.”
There is no standardized echocardiography training course in Kenya. Indeed, many health care professional have to travel abroad to study echocardiography and come back to the country to practice. This ends up being expensive because trainees have to leave their workstation with loss of income. This is not a favourable option for many clinicians.
KCS has developed a comprehensive training model that offers trainees a chance for high quality training before embarking on their career. They have the opportunity to train while maintaining their work schedules albeit with tighter schedules.
Echocardiography plays a vital role in the diagnosis and management of heart diseases particularly heart failure. Therefore, this venture will help the patients through early diagnosis and referral to the cardiologists. It will fulfill one of KCS major advocacy objectives which is early detection and referral. Training in echocardiography will fill this major gap in the diagnosis and management of heart failure.
According to the Kenya STEPwise Survey for non-communicable diseases, mortality due to cardiovascular diseases in the country ranges from 6.1-8%. Most heart failure cases are caused by undetected, untreated or poorly treated hypertension. Good echocardiographic skills are critical in order to properly identify and diagnose the conditions that cause heart failure.
Dr. Bernard Gitura, President, and Kenya Cardiac Society said during the event: “Many facilities have inadequate echocardiography services as well as low access to training for practitioners in the treatment and management of various heart conditions. We are happy to collaborate with GE Healthcare to provide structured training that will enable participants to diagnose and treat cardiac cases in a better way.”
GE Healthcare has a long history in supporting education and training to drive improved health outcomes. In 2016, GE inaugurated a healthcare training and skills institute in Kenya designed to train health professionals. Over 1900 professionals have benefited from the institute since its launch.