News and analysis
August 05, 2014

GE Foundation Commits $20-Million to Maternal and Child Health in Africa

The GE Foundation will spend an additional $20-million over the next five years to advance maternal and child health in Africa, an expansion of its existing global health development program, officials say.

The commitment was made public Tuesday as African heads of state and other leaders gather in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, three days of meetings and events designed to build ties between America and the continent, as well as promote growth. It was one of a number of new Africa-focused pledges announced in conjunction with the summit.

GE Foundation has spent $120-million in sub-Saharan Africa during the last decade, according to David Barash, chief medical officer at the foundation. Its priorities include helping organizations strengthen and expand, professional development, and improving infrastructure and technology. Sustainability and scalability are a must when it comes to developing new programs, Mr. Barash says.

The new $20-million pledge will provide equipment training for health-care professionals, anesthesia training for nurses, and the development of oxygen-delivery systems in areas with few medical resources.

"If there are babies or mothers that have respiratory distress, the thing they need more than anything else is oxygen, and yet there is no oxygen supply for these babies, and the mortality rate is much higher than it ought to be," Dr. Barash said.

General Electric Company’s $154.8-million in cash donations to charity in 2013 ranked the organization ninth on The Chronicle’s list of companies that gave the most last year.

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