UB Teaching Hospital Earmarked For Medical Tourism

Botswana could soon boast medical tourism, thanks to the magnificent University of Botswana’s teaching hospital.

UB management envisages exploiting this untapped field through its state of the art medical hospital designed at the tune of P1.3 billion, The Monitor has learnt. 

The facility, whose completion was expected by mid 2013, would also service the Faculty of Medicine as a teaching unit, as well as a referral hospital under the Ministry of Health (MoH). 

UB vice chancellor, Professor Thabo Fako told assistant ministers of education, Master Goya and Unity Dow, during a familiarisation tour on Friday that the facility would identify an area of specialty to focus on, in an endeavour to grow medical tourism.

In a briefing with the ministers after they toured three sets of new facilities at UB - teaching hospital, indoor sports facility and the UB conference centre - Fako pleaded with the authorities to assign the best management for the hospital.

“This is a first rate facility,” Fako said.  “We want to generate medical tourism and have patients from the region treated here.”

The business of medical tourism basically is the travel of people to another country for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment, he said.

Fako told The Monitor that Deloitte, through the MoH was engaged in the design of the needed medical expertise to inform the hospital’s staffing composition. The exercise, he added would ultimately decide their niche.

Nonetheless, UB has begun a benchmarking exercise with a Croatian hospital specialising in medical tourism, and focusing on orthopaedics and sport medicine. 

He said the Croatian facility is a centre of excellence in the field, such that Europeans always flew in masses for any sport related treatment. He suggested the possibility of a partnership, though the UB teaching hospital would not be competing with that facility. Another likely area of specialisation was obstetrics and paediatrics.    

“As I have already mentioned, the hospital staffing would determine what discipline we would specialise in,” he said. 

Designed as a modern academic, the teaching hospital houses 450-beds. It also contains offices, research laboratories, and a mortuary and with some provision for emergency care.

This, together with the two other facilities; were hailed as great investments.

Goya said these infrastructural developments were an indication that the subventions that government gave UB were being put to good use.

“As a country that is regarded as pacesetter in many fronts such as good democracy, we are also prudent when it comes to financial resources,” he said. Goya said the teaching hospital would address the shortage of doctors that Botswana was facing. For her part, Dow said she was impressed by what UB management does. She commended the partnership between the ministries of health and education towards the hospital’s establishment, as primary example collaboration.  “Looking at our humble beginnings we are appreciative of what we have. The teaching hospital is very well thought as a place of learning and healing,” she said.   

The UB’s conference centre, which is still under construction, is a stand-alone state of the art facility, expected to provide training facilities for the university staff and external clients. It consists of a purpose built 200-seat auditorium, a video conferencing room, and a variety of boardrooms, meeting and assessment rooms.  It will also contain offices, 70 rooms to accommodation patrons and catering facilities in the form of bar, restaurant and kitchen. The indoor sport facility will be used as a teaching, research and recreational facility. It houses be a performance stage, various sports courts including squash, gymnasium, aerobics, weight lifting and a sports science laboratory among other features.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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