Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is scheduled to open on April 24, 2019 and will provide highly specialised tertiary care, says the Minister of Health and Wellness Alfred Madigele.
“This will be a phased approach commencing with some service including paediatric oncology, internal medicine, rheumatology and endocrinology, diagnostic radiology, laboratory services and pharmacy. A phased commissioning of SKMTH will reduce over-dependence on South Africa (SA) for referrals, reduce costs and also institutionalise provision of super services within Botswana,” he said.
He, however, explained that the teaching hospital would not be like Princess Marina Hospital where people can just walk in and be assisted.
He said the people who can do self-referrals must be those with cash in their pockets or those who are under a medical (aid scheme).
He said the government health facilities were only let to refer patients to the hospital, as it will be partially a private hospital. This teaching hospital is expected to save the government millions of pula as it would be having many specialised medical services.
Madigele added that the Botswana Baylor Paediatric Centre of Excellence in partnership with the Global Hope programme was assisting the ministry to open and operationalise a Paediatric Oncology Ward and Clinic at the SKMTH.
He explained that the objective of that partnership was to strengthen oncology services in the country, as well as reduce the cost of referrals.
“The clinic will also facilitate the development of a Fellowship Programme between the University of Botswana and the Global Hope Programme. The intention of the fellowship is to increase production of medical professionals and to strengthen the learning environment in health,” he said.
He pointed out that his ministry had a fair share of problems with referrals to SA saying that they resulted in SA being the most expensive destination in health.
The other decision the ministry made was to upgrade the four district hospitals namely Letsholathebe Memorial Hospital in Maun, Sekgoma Hospital in Serowe, Mahalapye Primary Hospital and Scottish Livingstone Hospital in Molepolole.
He further said that the transformation strategy for tertiary care should be rooted in insourcing of service provision to stimulate rapid capacity development in the public sector. The five principles that the ministry intends to use include strategic allocation of specialised services to different facilities to promote district level excellence, strategic leveraging on private sector capacity, localisation of training human resources for health and cost-sensitive renumeration for services rendered.
“In this regard, we should take control of our referrals for specialised care and channel the resources we continue to spend in a strategic manner that grows both public and private sector capacity. We must prioritise supporting our private hospitals over external facilities. In partnership with our providers, we must devise concrete measures to curb abuse and wastage in billing for services rendered. We must also free the Ministry from the stranglehold of entrenched interests that stifle choice and increase costs in the procurement of services,” he noted.