While access to healthcare and health training remains a big challenge to many people in Africa, Amref International University is driven by the values of equity. In this strategic plan, the university seeks to train health workers from conflict zones and poor backgrounds across Africa, and promote inclusion in health education for girls by offering scholarships amounting to USD400,000.
Nairobi, 25 November, 2022: Amref International University (AMIU), today launched its Strategic Plan that will steer the university operations for the period between 2022 and 2027.
The Strategic Plan reinforces the university’s ambition to transform health in Africa by not only developing skilled workers but also agents of change. Since independence, health has remained a challenge in Africa with the continent having the highest burden of disease, early preventable deaths and inefficient and weak health systems – which must be addressed by a fit-for-purpose health workforce with the ability to challenge the status quo and re-chart its course in realizing lasting health change for Africa.
The university, focusing primarily on health sciences training, develops health workers who have the ability to transform their communities, and continues to bridge the gap in training human resources for health, and meet the demand for quality and holistic learning in health sciences. This is in line with the Strategic Plan and in fulfillment of AMIU’s mandate of developing an appropriate health workforce for Africa’s primary health care.
The development of the Strategic Plan has been guided by the constant challenges of availability of health workers in Africa which is considerably worse compared with other regions of the world. According to WHO, Africa has 25% of the world’s illness burden, with an estimation of Sub-Saharan Africa having only 1.3 per cent of the world’s trained health personnel. The reality is that there is a massive gap of more than 3.5 million health workers across the world. This includes a pressing need for at least one million community health workers and 350,000 midwives.
Millions more existing health workers lack the necessary support, equipment and training they need to deliver on their mandate. Although gains have been made, the health personnel shortfall is predicted to reach 6.1 million by 2030, out of the anticipated global health staff need of 14.5 million required for the attainment of UHC and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Additionally, access to healthcare remains a big challenge. There are many families who do not enjoy the right to health as a result of conflicts, political instability, natural disasters and adverse climate change events, among others. All these factors increase the vulnerability of families and make it difficult for the majority to access health services. Amref International University is driven by the values of equity in access to healthcare. In this strategic plan, the university has prioritized training of health workers from conflict and marginalized areas, as well as those from poor backgrounds. AMIU will train health workers from these communities and support them to go back to improve their communities.
“In this strategy, we have taken a different path in imparting knowledge. We aim to develop lifelong learners who hunger for knowledge and innovation to offer sustainable solutions to problems affecting their communities. Our model is problem and competency based and self-directed learning. As a way of rolling out this strategy, we have come up with a plan to build capacity of our lecturers to be competent in this pedagogical approach,” said H. E. Chancellor Festus Mogae.
“The AMIU strategy recognizes huge cultural, political and socio-economic diversity of Africa, and existing disparities in ownership of wealth and access to education. The university will be undertaking various initiatives to deal with issues of diversity, equity and inclusion such as access to education in health by girls by offering scholarships amounting to USD400,000 for girls to access training in nursing and midwifery in AMIU,” said Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa.
“Africa carry the shameful tag of a continent with the highest burden of disease. We are, therefore, developing health workers who have ability to transform their communities. We also believe that Africa will only get out of the current health status by developing homegrown evidence-based solutions. The research agenda of the university is, therefore, core to the change that we aspire for. This strategic plan has defined the kind of research which the university must carry-out,” said Ms. Muthoni Kuria, Chairperson of AMIU Council.
“The higher education sector has its share of the challenges and is not easy to navigate, especially, with a university focusing on the poor and neglected parts of Africa. I am sure people must be wondering where we will get money to provide quality training and do research in these poor communities. We will do what it takes to support the university to meet the noble goal and meet the targets set in this strategic plan,” said Dr Charles Okehalam, Chairperson, AMIU Board of Trustees.
Notes to Editors
Amref International University (AMIU) was established in 2017 as a Premier Pan African University of health sciences fully owned by Amref health Africa. AMIU is founded on the experience and intellect of Amref Health Africa, which is reputed with over 60 years of quality and innovative public and community health interventions in over 30 countries in Africa. AMIU’s focus is on training, research and extension in health sciences with emphasis on promotive, preventive, rehabilitative and palliative health. Its commitment is to progressively develop innovative programmes catering to the present as well as future Africa and global health needs. The University offers postgraduate, undergraduate, higher diploma, diploma, certificate programmes as well as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses that prepare human resource for health to serve throughout the health system. Visit www.amref.ac.ke for more information on our programmes.
Communications Manager, Amref International University.