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Afreximbank, Kings College London sign MOU to train doctors, nurses in Abuja

King’s College London

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and King’s College London (KCL) have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that sets the stage for a study that will determine the feasibility of jointly establishing a state-of-the-art medical and nursing school alongside the African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE) in Abuja, Nigeria.

The signing ceremony took place at the Strand Campus of King’s College London, on 24 November 2023 and underscored Afreximbank’s efforts towards transforming Africa’s healthcare sector, by producing quality doctors, nurses, and scientists for the continent 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 Organisation’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.

Read also: Nigeria’s debt service bill surges to six times budget for health, education in 2024 budget

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.

Commenting on the MOA, Benedict Oramah said: “This 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.”

Richard Trembath, senior vice president at King’s said: “Our shared vision is rooted in the belief that health and education are foundational pillars for thriving communities.”