Capacity Development for Health Care Professionals and Biomedical Technicians

Project description

Title: Capacity Development for Health Professionals and Biomedical Technicians
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ethiopia 
Lead executing agency: Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) of Ethiopia
Overall term: 2018 to 2021

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Health care in Ethiopia has improved thanks to the establishment of a three-tier health system and a community-based health extension workforce. However, according to the Health Sector Transformation Plan (HSTP), the availability and capacity of the country’s health services and the quality of health care need further improvement.

The main challenge is the lack of practical relevance and a shortage of trainers with the appropriate skills and experience. Furthermore, much of the equipment in the country's health facilities is old and defective while the new equipment is often not yet operational. Health care professionals are often not instructed in the right way to use the equipment. Organisational and financial problems make it difficult to obtain spare parts and consumables. Engineers and technicians who have already worked in public health centres and for health authorities have to deal with unrealistic expectations and lack the resources needed for their work. For instance, equipment frequently has to be re-paired without proper tools or spare parts. 

To date, there is no national strategy, nor any regulatory framework for the management of biomedical equipment. Lack of equipment standardisation and maintenance further diminishes the quality of the practical training for health professionals.


Framework conditions for the practical training of selected professionals in the health sector have improved.


Three fields of action will be addressed in the course of the project: 1) Development of a transferable model of practical vocational training; 2) Setting up of a prototype repair workshop; 3) Development of an approach that effectively harnesses the skills of both biomedical technicians and health professionals. 

The first field of action focuses on the quality of teaching. Particular attention will be paid to ensuring that instructors are in a position to provide practical guidance to their students. Field of action two will support a regional workshop for biomedical equipment, in which professional practice will be taught and applied. The third field of action will identify the steps needed to ensure sustainability. As such, results achieved by the project should provide a wider systemic benefit and minimise risks, such as lack of budgeting.

Patients in the health centres located in the area covered by the supraregional workshop in Nekemte, whose role is to maintain and repair biomedical equipment, benefit greatly from the project’s activities. The catchment area of the workshop covers three regions: west Oromia, Benishangul-Gumuz and parts of Amhara. To increase the chances of sustainable implementation, the project also actively involves trainees from the partnering vocational schools.

The project also focuses on capacity development for a pool of trainers and professionals at zonal and regional level, both in the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education.

Among the project’s main implementation partners are Tegbare-id TVET College in Addis Ababa (AATPTC), Nekemte Polytechnic College (NPTC) and Nekemte Health Science College (NHSC). The workshop for biomedical equipment is located on the premises of the Nekemte Specialized Hospital (NSH) which is one of the major teaching hospi-tals in the region.