Technology Hinders Health Tourism in Zimbabwe

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Credit: The Zimbabwe Independent

Zimbabwe has skilled health professionals but lacks the required technology. This was revealed during the medical tourism symposium that took place in Harare.

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Speaking during the symposium, the Managing Director of Hospital Transfer Systems and Wellmart Pharmaceuticals Helen McNeilage said that the health services should be enough to lure politicians in the country.

“We have the doctors but we don’t have the skills because the doctors have no technological skills” said Mc Neilage.

The Managing director also said that health tourism has the capacity to promote the rising Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.

The symposium which was attended by various stakeholders including doctors, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, business sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) was done under the theme Medical Tourism Threat or Opportunity to the Local Economy.

McNeilage, who was giving an overview of medical tourism during the symposium also said the health sector in Zimbabwe is too expensive making it hard attract health tourists in the country as there were cheaper destinations like India.

The director said that the health insurance in the country is not adequate.

“We have to have schemes that are affordable… If we don’t have schemes that are affordable then what are we doing,” said Mc Neilage.

Zimbabwe has already spent about $25 million to outbound medical tourism.

National Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZiMA), Dr Shingi Bopoto who was presenting on Professional versus Commercial said it is going to be hard to for medical tourism.

“We have got a low safety sector so it is going to be hard for medical tourism,” said Bopoto.

“Electricity can go during surgery. Ambulance can get a puncher because of potholes.

Health Minister, David Parirenyatwa is on record saying that the hospitals have outdated and old machines.

However, Mc Neilage showed some optimism on the practice of health tourism in Zimbabwe.

“We have the skills so its easy to develop health tourism. Our country has skilled people so we can do this,” McNeilage said.

“In India medical tourism is done in Mbare where every skill is engaged; the taxi drivers, airtime vendors.”

Bopoto said that politicians were leaving the country for health checkup for security fears and said that David Cameron, former British Prime Minister used to visit hospitals in France for the same reasons.

Zimbabwean politicians have been visiting countries like Singapore, Botswana and South Africa for health purposes.

The country has remitted more than USD15 million to meet medical expenses of Zimbabweans who received treatment in other countries since 2013.

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