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Philips completes installation phase of Zambian healthcare infrastructure modernisation project

Philips Medical Systems : 19 June, 2008  (Company News)
Philips has completed the installation phase of a seven-year project to modernise the healthcare infrastructure of the Republic of Zambia.
The programme, part of the Dutch government’s ORET international development initiative, has seen substantial improvements made to 71 hospitals across the country. The programme has included the training of over 200 local hospital staff, creating a sustainable skills base that will ensure a brighter future for the provision of healthcare in the country.

The Euros 25 million project included the installation and maintenance of diagnostic imaging equipment including mobile X-ray, fluoroscopy, Ultrasound scanners, operating theatres and dental treatment systems. Funding was provided by the Dutch and Zambian governments, each contributing 50 percent of the project’s costs. Holding overall responsibility for the project implementation, Philips partnered with education provider Fontys to train a local workforce of radiologists, laboratory technicians, nurses, midwives and other medical staff.

The ORET initiative is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which seeks to promote economic growth in developing countries in order to promote sustainable development and effective poverty reduction. Grants from ORET can be used by developing countries to assist in the purchase of foreign goods and services to build infrastructure including roads, drinking water facilities and healthcare. Support through the ORET program is available to over 50 developing countries around the world. Each potential project is assessed according to its financial, technical and organizational viability, as well as its sustainable impact on the local economy.

“From the start of the project in 2002 we’ve worked closely with our partners in Zambia to provide much more than just technology solutions – we’ve sought to lay the foundations of an improved system of medical care,” said Paul Smilde, vice president and chief financial officer for Philips Healthcare Middle East, Africa and Central Eastern Europe. “The project has had a tangible and valuable impact on the quality and availability of healthcare in Zambia. This is due to the combined efforts of the Dutch government, the Zambian government and the local project team, which included many local experts.”

The completion of the installation phase of the project was celebrated today during a ceremony held at Kabwe General Hospital in central Zambia, during which ownership of the medical equipment installed during the project was officially handed over to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health for the Republic of Zambia, Dr S K Miti. His Excellency the Ambassador of the Netherlands E J M Middeldorp was present on behalf of the Dutch government.

Philips will continue to maintain the equipment it has installed, and with its partner Fontys has implemented a ‘train the trainer’ programme to ensure that the benefits of the project continue to be realised for many years to come. To provide surgical and dental solutions for the project Philips partnered with Simed, a provider of turnkey healthcare solutions.

The programme is one of a number of projects included in the ORET international development initiative and part-funded by Dutch development aid.
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