Kalafhi Pemano looks to medical tourism

Dr Matlhogonolo Mongwa
Dr Matlhogonolo Mongwa

Botswana’s nearly 2.3 million people depend on a strained and struggling health care system. And with so many people calling the public hospitals graveyards, it seems like a far-fetched idea that Botswana could ever become a medical tourism destination. 

But Dr Matlhogonolo Mongwa insists that Botswana can become a medical tourism destination.

Dr Mongwa is a partner at Kalafhi Pemano, a partnership between Kalafhi Medical Centre and Pemano, led by leading South African medical specialists.

The partnership was created to establish medical specialist-driven centres across the region.


“One has to first understand what medical tourism means. Medical tourism refers to people travelling abroad to obtain medical treatment. It is driven by affordability for the most part. That is, healthcare in developed countries like the United States, Switzerland and Sweden can cost an arm and a leg, and hence people from those countries often prefer to travel to developing countries like Mexico, Turkey, and Costa Rica for medical procedures.

And what’s interesting is that some of the mentioned countries have a similar GDP per capita to Botswana,” Dr Mongwa said.

She said medical tourism was a fast-growing multi-billion pula industry and Botswana can become a medical tourism hub in the region as it has all the right economic ‘ingredients’ to harness the right specialised health caregivers in the region and care for patients in Botswana and across the globe.

“Botswana’s geographical positioning, robust policy enforcement and economic stability serve as the ‘ingredients’”, Dr Mongwa said.

She added: “However, for this to be achieved, we would have to get the Health System to work to its optimal, allowing the synergies between public sector and private sector. Optimal Health System may seem impossible, but it can be achieved in Botswana by apportioning the resources prudently with the right partners on-board. And we are going to start the dialogue at the Global Expo”.

On August 9 in a closed session seminar, Kalafhi Pemano will be hosting the esteemed Professor Lungile Pepeta, a paediatric cardiologist, and current executive dean of health sciences at the Nelson Mandela University alongside Professor Mfanufikile Nomvete, who specialises in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, and is currently the chief specialist and head of internal medicine and heading Gastroenterology for three Port Elizabeth Hospitals.

The two professors will deliberate on the theme ‘Boosting the economy through Medical Tourism’. The theme went with the following sub-themes: The role of interventional specialised medical care and tourism; Inclusion of technology and medicine in an Emerging Economy; and Accessible Quality healthcare and how it boosts the economy.

The seminar will seek to bring together leaders in the health fraternity to form ground-breaking conglomerates that can address health challenges facing Botswana and eventually boost Botswana’s economy through medical tourism, she said.

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