From Paidamoyo Chipunza, recently in INDIA
Fortis Healthcare Limited, one of India’s finest top class health institutions, is working on partnering a health institution in Zimbabwe as it seeks to bring health services closer to the people. Speaking to delegates who were attending the second Medical Travel Value summit during a visit to its flagship institution in Gurgaon, India, Fortis Memorial zonal director Dr Simmardeep Singh Gill said the development is expected to result in availability of some medical services that are not accessible in the country as well as restoring locals’ confidence in their health delivery system.

“We see people flying in for very small procedures such as stone removals, cataracts and gall bladders among others, not only because these services are not available in their countries but also because they do not have confidence in the delivery system of their countries,” said Dr Singh.

“So this development is aimed at bringing these services closer to the people so that they do not travel all the way to India except for high profile cases.” Dr Singh said they have no interest in building new health institutions. Instead, he added, they were looking at partnerships with already existing institutions in Zimbabwe.

“We are not looking at putting up collection centres where we transport patients to India and forth, we are looking at improving the capabilities of the existing clinical areas,” Dr Singh said.

He said his company already had partnerships in some African countries, where partnering institutions which were offering primary care were upgraded to tertiary care hospitals.

According to Dr Singh, such partnership usually see the partnering institution equipped with latest medical equipment. Although he could not reveal the name of the Zimbabwean private health institution they were working with, Dr Singh said they were looking forward to being in Zimbabwe before the end of 2017.

Elsewhere in Africa, Fortis has partnered with International Hospital Kampala in Uganda and three other health institutions in Nigeria. Apart from Zimbabwe, Fortis was also looking forward to partner with institutions in Zambia and Kenya among others.

Bulawayo-based medical healthcare facilitator Mr Vijay Mehta described Fortis’s gesture as a positive development considering the fact that many Zimbabweans were travelling to India for medical purposes, including procedures that can be done at home.

It is estimated that an average of 50 Zimbabwean patients travel to India every month for medical purposes.

“I think that is exactly the type of partnerships Zimbabwe is looking forward to so that our people do not travel these long distances even for simple procedures but also at the same time improving our healthcare delivery system,” said Mr Mehta.

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