Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
ZIMBABWEANS seeking specialist health care outside the country, particularly in India, could get a lifeline as a health facility in Botswana, Francistown Academic Hospital (FAH), seeks partnerships with local health service providers for locals to get medical help in the neighboring country.
Over the years, many Zimbabweans have been referred by doctors to India for specialist surgeries.
Common surgeries that people go to India for include Open Heart and Liver Surgery, Cardiovascular Surgery, Kidney Transplant, Neurosurgery, Radiosurgeries and Intestinal Laparoscopy among other services.
Some people have died after failing to raise funds for transportation, accommodation, food and surgery amounting to thousands of US dollars.
Few lucky people have been helped by supporters to raise funds.
The government is encouraging partnerships in the health sector while efforts are also being made to establish national health insurance towards universal health service.
FAH is a subsidiary of Indus Healthcare in India, a one-stop medical facility offering a variety of services, most of which are demanded by Zimbabweans.
FAH has partnered with the Association of Health Funders Association of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) to work with local health service providers to improve access to health services for Zimbabweans.
The organization attended the recent AHFoZ Annual Conference in Victoria Falls where the Deputy Minister of Health and Childcare, Dr John Mangwiro, who represented the Vice President, Dr Constantino Chiwenga as guest of honour, said such a partnership would be beneficial for Zimbabweans.
“It is attractive and will reduce costs for our people who go out of the country to seek medical services, especially in India,” Dr Mangwiro said during a tour of the exhibition stands where FAH was exhibiting.
FAH Business Development and Marketing Manager Mr Nonofo Brian Molatlhegi said Zimbabweans will be able to use their medical aid if the organizations reach agreements with local schemes.
“It is a subsidiary of Indus Group with six hospitals in India and we facilitate treatment or make payment terms for customers in Francistown instead of going to India.
“We offer a wide range of services where the pre-operative procedures will be done in Francistown and if necessary the patient will be flown to India but follow-up checkups and surgeries will be done in Francistown where the patients will receive the same help. they would have got if they were in India. It’s a win-win situation because people will save money and can save lives,” Molatlhegi said.
The government of Botswana is a financial partner of the hospital.
Mr. Molatlhegi said that instead of transporting patients to India, FAH can also transport Indian doctors to Francistown.
Most people who travel for medical treatment in India are accompanied by a relative who will take care of them and this increases the costs.
“That’s what we sell to Zimbabwean medical providers that clients don’t have to travel to India where they are unknown. When there are many clients, we collect cases and send doctors to Francistown to do operations. Patients share the cost of flying a doctor and it will be cheaper than going individually,” Molatlhegi said.
FAH was opened in 2020 and is targeting the markets of Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Zambia before expanding to the whole continent.
AHFoZ is a member of Health Funders of Southern Africa and the International Federation of Health Plans in the UK as the health sector continues to build partnerships. [email protected]