Investors from India are planning to set up multi-million dollar state-of-the-art medical facilities in either Harare or Bulawayo as part of their efforts to push for medical tourism in Zimbabwe.
The project, to be implemented through public private partnership, will ultimately result in the Indians investing in the entire value chain, inclusive of pharmaceuticals and other medical consumables.
Bringing in the medical equipment alone and settings for a facility that caters for 100 to 150 beds will gobble up an estimated $10 million.
In an interview, Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe His Excellency Rungsung Masakui said medical tourism was a vibrant sector in his country, contributing significantly to its gross domestic product.
He said deliberations were already underway with the Government for the setting up of such facilities and this would be complimented by pharmaceutical production.
“This should be through a public private partnership and we have already had discussions with the Government of Zimbabwe.
“This project that we are proposing, if it goes through, will cater for the whole supply chain that is a medical centre with world class facilities and also look at the pharmaceuticals side as well
“This means countries around Zimbabwe will have to come here for services they would have looked for in India. Zimbabwe will become a regional hub for medical tourism just like India,” he said.
Medical tourism is when people travel to a foreign country to obtain medical treatment and in the past this has usually been people from developing countries to major centres in developed nations. Studies however show there has been a shift as people from developed countries now travel developing countries for lower priced medical treatment.
According to the Medical Tourism Report 2015, medical tourism in India’s medical tourism sector was estimated to be worth $3 billion and is projected to grow to $7 or $8 billion by 2020.
The Medical Tourism Report also found out that India was one of the lowest cost and highest quality of medical tourism destinations offering wide variety of procedures at about one –tenth the cost of similar procedures in the United States.
Zimbabwe is strategically located in SADC, which gives it potential to become a regional hub for medical tourism which will be complemented by a vibrant pharmaceutical industry.
Ambassador Masakui said investors from his country were ready for the partnerships and appealed for Government to expedite the process to enable the identified investors to start pouring in money towards setting up of the facilities.
He said the country is at an advantage as it already has some available infrastructure to start and have been waiting on the
“There was also some talks with the Health Ministry I think some two months ago, over Joshua Nkomo Hospital in Bulawayo,
It has been lying idle for almost 15 years
“From our side, anytime we are prepared. It is now up to the Zimbabwe Government to speed up the process. We see great potential here because Zimbabwe is strategically located in the region.
“If we can expedite the process, this will benefit both countries,” he said.