By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and King’s College London (“KCL” or” King’s”) have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that sets the stage for initiating a scoping study that will determine the feasibility of their plan to jointly establish of a state-of-the-art medical and nursing school alongside the African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE) in Abuja, Nigeria.
The signing ceremony, which took place at the Strand Campus of King’s College London, on 24 November 2023, marks yet another milestone in Afreximbank’s efforts toward a positive transformation of Africa’s healthcare sector, by producing quality healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, and scientists for Africa and the world. The scoping study is expected to commence forthwith and will be completed by May 2024.
The project will draw on King’s world-leading insight and expertise in healthcare education and training to create a model that will benefit the entire African continent. The partnership builds on King’s long-standing commitment to Africa and a legacy of working in collaboration, to deliver education and impactful research partnerships in the region for the benefit of all.
Africa, with a population of 1.4 billion, is home to approximately 17 percent of the world’s population, with projections for this figure to double by 2050. Yet, coverage of essential healthcare services is pathetically low, with only 48 percent of people able to access basic healthcare services. This means, more than 600 million Africans are excluded from the formal healthcare system.
Africa is estimated to have less than two healthcare professionals per 1000 people, against the World Health Organization’s recommended ratio of at least four healthcare workers per 1000 people. In essence, approximately 80 percent of Africa is currently experiencing medical staff shortages, due to high rates of healthcare professionals leaving to work in other countries. The WHO estimates that the shortfall in healthcare workers will reach about 6.1 million by 2030.
Afreximbank has been at the forefront of the drive to transform Africa’s healthcare landscape by facilitating the emergence of world-class medical infrastructure across the continent. The Bank is at an advanced stage in the development of a 500-bed quaternary medical facility called the Africa Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE) in Abuja, which is expected to provide a full range of medical services, including diagnostics, nuclear medicine, surgery, and post-surgical care. It will operate in collaboration with the Kings College Hospital, London (KCH), leveraging KCH’s diagnostic, clinical and capacity building expertise to become a world class healthcare institution.
The signing ceremony was attended by delegates from Afreximbank, led by President Benedict Oramah (also Chairman of the AMCE Board), Oluranti Doherty, Direct, Export Development, Dr Zahoor Khan, Chief Operating Officer, AMCE, Clinical Medical Advisor (CMAs) to the AMCE Initiative (Prof. Mufti Ghulam) and representatives from Kings College London, including Prof. Richard Trembath (Senior Vice President (Health & Life Sciences) and Executive Director of King’s Health Partners) and Dr. Helen Bailey (Deputy Vice President, Global Business Development); as well as representatives from King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – with which Afreximbank have an existing partnership.
Commenting on the MOA, Prof. Benedict Oramah said:
“Today marks a historic milestone as we proudly unveil a transformative partnership with King’s College London. This collaborative effort goes beyond a partnership; it represents a bold step towards an empowered healthcare landscape, defining a new era for the continent. The establishment of a cutting-edge medical and nursing school is a significant stride towards ensuring that Africa possesses the expertise and resources to meet its own healthcare needs.
“With the support of King’s College London, this partnership holds the potential to transform Africa’s healthcare sector, delivering quality healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, and scientists not only for Africa but for the world. Together, we embark on a journey that not only bridges the healthcare gap but also redefines the standards of medical education in Africa.”
Dr Helen Bailey, Deputy Vice President, Global Business Development at King’s said:
“King’s commitment to be in service to society is reflected in all we do. This couldn’t be clearer than in our work to help address global challenges through partnerships and collaborations, such as this project to support access to high quality healthcare in Nigeria and Africa. The signing of the MoA marks a key step in our partnership with Afreximbank and further strengthens this commitment.” READ ALSO:
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Prof. Richard Trembath, Senior Vice President (Health & Life Sciences) at King’s said:
“Our shared vision is rooted in the belief that health and education are foundational pillars for thriving communities. Combining our expertise and resources, we strive to create a ripple effect, influencing positive change in the healthcare landscape and contributing to the overall prosperity of African societies. Through the development of the medical and nursing schools, we aspire to set new benchmarks in health-related excellence and support academic enrichment. Together, we seek to enable an enduring impact for well-being of populations across the African continent.”
Dr Tunji Lasoye, Director of Medical Education at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Medical Director for Nigeria and West Africa with King’s Commercial, said:
“I am delighted that King’s College London and Afreximbank have signed a MoA to test the feasibility of establishing a medical and nursing school in Abuja, Nigeria.
“King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust via King’s Commercial have partnered with Afreximbank to establish the African Medical Centre of Excellence, which will be a top-class medical facility and is set to open in Abuja, Nigeria in early 2025. Having a King’s College London medical and nursing school alongside the medical facility will ensure a prosperous healthcare system for generations to come.”