The construction of the P596 million Bokamoso Private Hospital Trust, a brain child of two local non-profit medical aid schemes, the Botswana Public Officers’ Medical Aid Scheme (BPOMAS) and the Pula Medical Aid Fund Trust (PULA), started last week.
The two medical aid schemes have partnered with Operating Room International Limited Liability Company (ORI) of New York, and Vanderbilt University Medical Centre (VUMC) of Nashville, Tennessee, both from United States of America to build the state-of-the-art hospital in Mopane on the outskirts of Gaborone.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, the Minister of Health, Lesego Motsumi, said the proposed hospital is going to have 330 beds of which 30 will be earmarked for a Rehabilitation Centre to be operated semi-autonomously from the main Hospital.
The Centre will provide care for trauma, cardiac and elective orthopedic patients.
She said the partnership with the two American institutions enabled them to have a wealth of experience in developing and managing hospitals.
“Given their experience in running this variety of hospitals in different settings and economic environments, my ministry and, indeed, the public at large, will benefit handsomely from this facility,” she said.
The new move will give Gaborone Private Hospital (GPH) the much needed competition, which is likely to bring down the cost of heath care in the country. The GPH, which is owned by BDC, Bifm and Debswana Pension Fund, has been running a monopoly in the area of private hospital for years.
Acknowledging the fact that the Health Ministry experiences a shortage of specialized skills and does not have all the necessary medical technology in the country, the Minister said collaborating with ORI and VUMC is going to be of great benefit to Batswana. Through the academic and research input of VUMC, Motsumi said, certain clinical skills or services, which would otherwise not be available in the country, will be attained.
“The facility will not only offer clinical services but also educational and training opportunity in Botswana. This will be made possible through the technical collaboration between Bokamoso Hospital and the University of Botswana and the Institute of Health Science at marginal cost,” Motsumi said.
The move is expected to improve patient care, enhance the training of personnel in specialized areas, and expand the menu of services available within this country as it pursues its endeavour to be the medical hub in the region.
“Access to good health services, like all other areas of social development, is significant to consumers of scarce and limited resources,” said the chairperson of the Bokamoso Private Hospital Trust, Batatu Tafa.
She said the aspirations of BPOMAS and PULA are to ensure that access to affordable private hospital services is available on a sustainable basis to the schemes’ members and their families.
“This development will, to some extent, decongest the existing public facilities in and around Gaborone,” she said.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is expected to introduce new services, which have always been needed by Batswana, but have had to be imported from South Africa and other places.
The Bokamoso Private Hospital is expected to be completed next year around September.