BY CEDRIC SWANKA
Budget figures shared at the national assembly this week shows that when it comes to the medical industry, foreign owned companies are kings.
A breakdown of the budget in the last four financial years paint a picture of an industry that is foreign dominated precisely on the air evacuation sub sector.
The numbers, as shared in Parliament this week indicate that there are three main players in the air medical evacuations businesses. The three – Med Rescue Botswana, Flying Missions Services and Okavango Air Rescue have split amongst themselves over P55 million in the last four years. A further breakdown of the figures shows that Med Rescue Botswana ÔÇô the only citizen owned company that currently meets the technical criterion of providing air medical services received an amount of P29million in the past four years. Its counterparts Flying Missions Services got P8million while Okavango Air Rescue received P17 million.
The total cost associated with air medical evacuations for the past 4 years for the air chartered flights was P55 436 116.00.
Whilst the participation by Batswana owned company in this sector is insignificant, junior minister of Health and Wellness (MOHW) Setlhomo Lelatisitswe says there have been not been any discriminations towards Batswana owned companies.
Lelatisitswe told Parliament that some citizen owned companies have in the past inquired with the MOHW regarding the requirements to provide air medical evacuations and the technical specifications have been provided to the companies.
“So far the companies have not given feedback after their inquiries and collection of requirements. The technical criterion is a safety measure that was put in place to protect patients from unprofessional and harmful patient care practices. Batswana owned companies that meet the technical criterion for air medical evacuations were engaged”, Lelatisitswe said.
It has since emerged that for the past 6 years the ministry of health and wellness has carried out 1 120 air medical evacuations.
Lelatisitswe was responding to a question from Specially Elected legislator – Mephato Reatile who had wanted to know among other things the number of medical evacuations or related activities that were carried out by MOHW.