Leonard Ncube , Victoria Falls Reporter
ZIMBABWEANS seeking specialised healthcare outside the country especially in India could get a lifeline as a Botswana health institution Francistown Academic Hospital (FAH) is seeking partnerships with local health service providers for locals to get medical help in the neighbouring country.
Over the years, many Zimbabweans have been referred by doctors to India for specialist surgeries.
The common surgeries people travel to India for include open heart and liver surgery, cardio and vascular surgery, kidney transplant, neurosurgery, radiation surgeries and intestines laparoscopic among other services.
Some people have died after failing to raise money for transport, accommodation, food and surgery running into thousands of United States dollars.
Few that have been lucky have been assisted by well-wishers to raise the money.
Government is encouraging partnerships in the health sector while efforts are also being made to come up with a National Health Insurance towards a universal health service.
FAH is a subsidiary of Indus Healthcare in India, a one-stop medical facility with a variety of services, most of which are demanded by Zimbabweans.
FAH has partnered the Association of Health Funders Association of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) in an effort to work with local health care service providers to improve access to health services for Zimbabweans.
The organisation attended the recent AHFoZ annual conference in Victoria Falls where Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro, who was representing Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga as guest of honour, said such a partnership will be beneficial to Zimbabweans.
“This is interesting and will reduce costs for our people who go out of the country to seek medical services especially in India,” said Dr Mangwiro during a tour of 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 organisations strike deals with local schemes.
“This is a subsidiary of Indus Group with six hospitals in India and we facilitate treatment or make payment terms for clients in Francistown instead of going to India.
“We offer a wide range of services where pre-operation procedures will be done in Francistown and if need be the patient will be airlifted to India but reviews and follow-up surgeries will be done in Francistown where patients get the same help they would have gotten if they were in India. This is a win-win situation as people will save on money and will be able to save life,” said Mr Molatlhegi.
The Government of Botswana is an equity partner in the hospital.
Mr Molatlhegi said instead of patients flying to India, FAH can also fly Indian doctors to Francistown.
Most people who travel for treatment in India are accompanied by a relative who will be taking care of them and that increases costs.
“This is what we are selling to Zimbabwean medical providers that clients should not go to India where they are unknown. When there are many clients we collect the cases and fly doctors to Francistown to do surgeries. The patients share the cost of flying a doctor and that will be cheaper than going there individually,” Mr Molatlhegi.
FAH was opened in 2020 and targets the Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe markets and Zambia before spreading to the whole continent.
AHFoZ is a member of Health Funders of Southern Africa and International Federation of Health Plans in UK as the health sector continues to strike partnerships. [email protected]